In response to recent incidents in Texas and New York where passengers were made to wait on grounded planes for up to 11 hours, Senator Barbara Boxer is proposing a “Passengers Bill of Rights.” The bill would give passengers the right to deplane if their aircraft sits on the ground for more than three hours past the scheduled departure time.
In addition, Boxer intends for the bill to include provisions allowing passengers access to food, water and hygiene. Currently, airlines operate under a voluntary code of conduct, which stipulates only that they make “reasonable efforts” to meet these needs, even in the event of extreme delays.
A spokesman for the Air Transport Association countered by warning that “inflexible standards that would be imposed through some sort of mandatory legislation could easily have the unintended effect of inconveniencing customers more in some situations.”
For information on a grassroots effort in support of the bill, visit the Coalition for an Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights blog.