Friday, 29 September 2023

MacIntyre: Passenger rights bill doesn't do enough

I am writing in response to the September 20th article titled “Airline passengers get right to deplane in House FAA Reauthorization.”

I would like to applaud Representative Mike Thompson’s work on HR 1303, the bill known as “The Passenger Bill of Rights Act of 2007.” I know firsthand what it feels like to be sitting on the tarmac for over two hours waiting to take off. Long delays end up causing problems with connecting flights, and they make it challenging to get reunited with your luggage.

The Passenger Bill of Rights Act of 2007 states that if a flight is delayed the airlines will have to keep the cabin at a comfortable temperature, and drinking water must be provided to the passengers. This is all well and good, but unfortunately, that’s about all this bill does.

Here are a couple of things you should know regarding this bill: First, according to the language of the bill, an excessive delay is three hours or more. You should also know that the pilot can extend this time by another hour, bringing the total to four hours. I don’t know of anybody ever being held on an aircraft for four hours or more. Do you?

Second, the language of the bill states that a passenger cannot just get up and leave the aircraft. The bill only requires airlines to “establish procedures to allow passengers to exit the aircraft” whatever that means. I am fearful that the procedures that get established will have more to do with the economics of the airline than passenger comfort.

When I first read the article in the paper regarding this bill I thought: “Wow that’s great! We will no longer be held captive on delayed flights!” Then I read the actual bill and discovered that it wasn’t exactly what I thought.

As an involved citizen I feel an obligation to constantly check on bills that are going through process, and encourage others to do the same. If you know of a bill that you support or oppose, your local representative should know what you think. You can call them or write them you can even e-mail most of them. To act on behalf of their constituents, your legislators must have input!

For actual text of this bill and other proposed regulation go to:

Robert MacIntyre lives in Hidden Valley Lake.


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