New York Governor Elliot Spitzer signed the first passengers bill of rights into law earlier this week. While the law only cover travelers at New York airports, the state is a major international travel hub, home to Kennedy and LaGuardia, two of the busiest airports in the country. The Air Transportation Association lobbied hard against the measure, saying: “No airline wants to subject passengers to long delays on tarmacs, but customer service can’t be legislated.” New York responded by legislating the following customer service measures:
They’ve made a cute little propaganda video in the hopes of encouraging you to contact your representatives.
“Hello, I’ve been seeing all these negative stories about airlines on your site, and I just thought I would share 1 positive one. Well, I have been flying jetblue since 2001, even before they had the TV’s installed in their planes For years, I have taken jetblue only, but recently they have been pretty hit or miss, really disappointing.
The House and Senate are competing to see who can pass the weakest version of the Passengers Bill of Rights. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation passed one version in May, allowing airlines to deny passengers the right to deplane by filing contingency plans with the government. The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure passed another version last week denying passengers any right to deplane. We compare the race to the bottom, after the jump.
-hour flight from Fort Lauderdale to New York turned into a “25-hour odyssey” for 150 passengers.
A bus filled with diverted Delta passengers has crashed in Pennsylvania, killing the driver and injuring dozens of passengers, according to the AP.
After being unable to find hotel rooms for the stranded passengers in Syracuse, NY, Delta airlines chartered 4 buses to shuttle the passengers to their destination of Newark International Airport. One of the buses crashed on I-81 in New Milford, PA. 12 passengers were taken to local hospitals. The cause of the crash in unknown. From the AP:
Reader Eric writes that his girlfriend got a call from his Aunt last night because her cousin was was stuck on the tarmac at Syracuse, NY. They found this odd because she was flying to Newark. Why would she be on the ground several hours away? Because that’s where Delta dropped her off. According to Eric, Delta abandoned a plane load of passengers in Syracuse after being unable to land in Newark due to high traffic and poor weather.
American Airlines pissed off the wrong people when they stranded several flights at Austin International Airport in December. Now the Coalition for Airline Passengers Bill of Rights, which started as a blog full of irritated consumers from those flights, has grown to 15,000 members and is holding press conferences. Today they’ve issued the first “Airline Strandings Report Card,” in which they detail not only the failures and successes of various airlines, but also highlight the inaccuracies of the Department of Transportation’s statistics.
Time magazine has an article about the state of the passenger’s bill of rights that is currently attached to the FAA authorization bill and is making its way through the Senate.
United Flight Attendants Scoff At Grounded Flier Compensation Plan, Lobby For Passengers Bill of Rights
You know who has to deal with a planeload full of sweaty, angry grounded passengers? Flight attendants. Know who wants a passengers bill of rights? Flight attendants. Specifically, United Airlines flight attendants. They’ve issued a press release through their union criticizing United’s “Flights of Note” compensation plan for grounded fliers.
Thank goodness for United Airlines, they’ve solved the problem of what to do with grounded, stranded passengers. You know, the problem that Congress has been having hearings about? The solution: a 20% off coupon, a $10 airport meal voucher and a note of apology! The Denver Post says that United will consider anyone with a taxi-out delay of more than 3 hours or a taxi-in delay of more than 90 minutes eligible for the goodies.
The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee included a “bi-partisan airline passengers’ bill of rights in the comprehensive FAA Reauthorization.” Our little bill is on its way! Oh how we hope and pray…—MEGHANN MARCO
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, a flight was diverted because of severe thunderstorms and passengers were left to sit on a grounded airplane for 8 hours. By the time they arrived at their destination, they’d been on the plane for 11 hours. Sound familiar? It happened again. The snacks and drinking water got scarce. Someone ordered pizza—”50-70″ slices for 200 people.
The bad thing about flying journalists to and fro is that when something goes wrong, they tend to amuse themselves by taking notes. Sadly, JetBlue does not yet have a policy prohibiting pens and paper from their flights. From the Boston Herald:
A passenger, talking loudly into his cellphone, says, “I went out of my way to fly JetBlue,” he said, “and instead I’m on some Express Jet. It’s a bait and switch.”
Last Saturday, a United Airlines flight sat at O’Hare International Airport for more than eight hours during an icy snowstorm. For entertainment, the passengers got to watch the plane get de-iced several times.
Consumerist HQ responded positively to jetBlue’s apologies earlier this week. Understandable: Airline CEO David “Mortified” Neeleman’s words felt sincere, and it was good to hear him apologize for the unfortunate imprisonment of hundreds of people inside their airplanes for hours on end last week. It’s tough to apologize, and they did it. Hats off.