Federal appeals court overturns New York’s Passenger Bill of Rights

For a brief second I thought that airline passengers just might be making headway in the notoriously frustrating airline industry. That was until today when the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a law requiring airlines to provide basic necessities to passengers stuck on a plane delayed on the ground.

When New York passed the Passenger Bill of Rights last August — intended to take effect at the beginning of this year — several other states joined in and proposed their own bills, all in the name of passenger comfort. Granted the bill didn’t provide for anything too luxurious; it only required commercial airlines to provide things like food, water, functional restrooms and fresh air when a flight was pushed back and held on the tarmac for over three hours. But in today’s airline industry where a meal is a bag of three unsalted peanuts, it’s easy to get excited about the little things.

The Passenger Bill of Rights may seem to require the bare minimum of what airlines should provide to passengers in such situations, but the airlines, represented by the Air Transport Association of America, appealed the bill anyway, as reported by CNN. With today’s official ruling that “New York’s new state law interferes with federal law governing the price, route or service of an air carrier,” we can probably assume that other states aren’t going to get much farther.

Looks like we passengers still have a long way to go.