Monday, 25 January 2021

Airline passengers get right to deplane in House FAA reauthorization

WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, Rep. Mike Thompson, author of the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights (HR 1303) announced to a crowd on the National Mall that the House’s FAA Reauthorization legislation will require airlines and airports to deplane passengers after excessive delays.


In addition, the legislation includes another provision from Thompson’s bill, which will require airlines to provide passengers with food, clean drinking water, usable bathrooms, proper ventilation and medical care during delays.


“This is a tremendous victory for everyone who flies,” said Thompson. “Right now, passengers have no assurance that they’ll be given basic necessities when planes are delayed. They could be kept on planes against their will for hours and hours. I introduced the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights because I believe passengers deserve to be treated decently and fairly when they fly, especially when there are excessive delays. The language in the FAA Reauthorization is a huge step toward making that happen.”


Since Thompson introduced HR 1303 in March, excessive airplane delays have continued and the public’s outrage has grown. With the help of the Coalition for an Airline Passenger Bill of Rights, Thompson has added 49 Members of the House as co-sponsors to his bill.


Inclusion of HR 1303’s key provisions in the FAA Reauthorization demonstrates Congress’ determination to improve the airlines’ treatment of passengers, and it is a victory for the flying public.


“Millions of Americans depend on the airlines for work and pleasure, and we want to make sure they can continue to serve us,” added Thompson. “I think this bill will help the airlines by providing an industry standard for the treatment of passengers.”


A manager’s amendment to the FAA Reauthorization requires the airlines and airports to submit their plans for handling delays to the Department of Transportation (DOT); however, the DOT may establish minimum standards for the plans. Within nine months of the date of enactment, the Secretary of the DOT shall review, approve or require modifications to the plans. If the airlines or airports do not follow their plans, the DOT can impose civil penalties.


“I thank the thousands of people who have joined our effort to create a Passengers Bill of Rights, especially the Coalition for an Airline Passengers Bill of Rights,” said Thompson. “We now need to focus on getting these critical provisions through the House and Senate conference and onto the president’s desk.”


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