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Insta-CoGo: All Eyes on the NY Passenger Bill of Rights

Cindy Loose

New York's Passenger Bill of Rights seems pretty mild to CoGo: It says that commercial planes flying out of New York must provide passengers food, water, fresh air, power and working restrooms if the flight has left the gate and sat on the tarmac for more than three hours.

Nonetheless, the airline industry has challenged the law and has been beaten down in court -- and now it has appealed. The appeal is slated to take place on Wednesday (March 5).

The airlines got a boost yesterday when the Department of Transportation announced its opinon that federal law under the Airline Deregulations Act preempts state law. The announcement stated: "The Supreme Court has consistently interpreted the ADA broadly so as to preclude any regulation of airline services other than by the federal government."

So, just how many hours do the feds think passengers should have to wait, stuck in a plane, without food, water, power or working restrooms? They won't tell: What do you think?

By Cindy Loose |  March 4, 2008; 4:03 PM ET  | Category:  Cindy Loose , Insta-CoGo
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The upshot of all these penalties for putting people in aircraft and not taking off immediately is to encourage the airlines to cancel flights much more quickly. Loading the plane, paying penalties, and not taking off would be the worst outcome for the airline. A better one would be to cancel the flight in advance before the crew was brought in. That's what more airlines are doing.

Posted by: Cancel the flight | March 4, 2008 4:29 PM

If the threat of penalties is what it takes to promt an honest, thoughtful discussion of the capacity limitations of NYC's airports, bring it on! Part of the reason we see so many delays is that planes are scheduled for takeoffs and landings under near-ideal conditions, with little allowance made for weather or equipment problems. Thus, when the inevitable happens, problems ripple throughout the system and passengers across the country get stuck.

Do I think the federal government is in a position to facilitate this kind of discussion? Heck no! There are too many corporate interests involved. As for how long a passenger should sit on a plane with no creature comforts provided, well, it's never a problem on Congressional junkets, so how serious could it really be?

Posted by: BxNY | March 5, 2008 9:04 AM

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