The recent push for a federal Passenger Bill of Rights by the U.S. Senate was a welcomed breath of fresh air for fed-up travelers. Some states however feel that the federal legislation isn’t moving fast enough and have decided to take matters into their own hands.
In an attempt to speed up the process, lawmakers in New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Washington and Rhode Island are pursuing state legislation similar to what was just recently passed in New York in order to better provide for travelers.
But the airlines prefer federally regulated passenger protection in order to avoid confusion over rules set on a state to state basis. State governments are not taking the issue lightly, and on Tuesday representatives of Alaska Airlines got a hostile response when talking to Washington lawmakers. An excerpt:
Scott Jarvis, Vice President of Marketing for Alaska Airlines: “I would hope that competition would rule the day and bad apples would lose business if they’re delivering poor customer service.”
Ken Jacobsen, Democratic State Senator: “In the meantime, nine hours on the runway someone’s going to die.”
It’s pretty clear that the fight for passenger rights, be it at the state or the federal level, isn’t going to be easy. Better bring a sack lunch on your next flight just in case you risk those nine deadly hours.