Airline Passengers' Bill Of Rights Takes Off

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Californian Kate Hanni was stranded with her family for more than nine hours on the tarmac in Austin, Texas after their plane was diverted due to bad weather. “We were given only water from the bathroom sinks to drink. We were given one 45 calorie bag of pretzels. We were not given any accurate information from the airline as to when we could get off.” Hanni supports a bill by Democratic Assemblyman Mark Leno. It would require airlines to provide passengers with food, water, fresh air, light and a working bathroom when they’re stranded on the tarmac for more than three hours. But Dan Hagan with American Airlines argues it’s a federal issue, and a patchwork of state rules could lead to tough scenarios in, say, the case of bad weather: “Our operations folks perhaps sitting down with a team of lawyers to decide which state’s standards apply.” The Assembly Transportation committee approved the measure, which is based on a similar New York law.