Minor relief for those flying out of New York

Did I mention the relief will be minor? After months–hell, years–of resistance to a bill of rights for airline passengers, there’s been one small step in the right direction. Now if you’re flying out of JFK or LaGuardia, you have the right to “fresh air, lights, functioning restrooms and adequate food and drinking water” on the tarmac if your flight is delayed more than three hours.

The whole movement got a kick in the pants last Valentine’s Day, when a ice storm caused some passengers to be literally trapped on planes for up to 10 hours, with none of the above mentioned “amenities.”

Unfortunately for customers, the bill of rights trend isn’t sweeping the nation. Though airline employees can be dullards, airlines have made sure their lobbyists in Washington are the best and brightest. And the penalties can barely be called steep. $1,000 a pop–if the violation can be confirmed (read: lots of paperwork).

I’m waiting to see what kind of impact this will have on the two New York airports, which are infamously headaches to go through. Next summer is also gearing up to be one of the busiest seasons on record. So good luck everybody We’ll need it.