Immediate Release:

Contact: Kate Hanni 

Phone: (707) 337-0328

Applauds Senate Commerce Committee for Recognizing Airline Passengers’

Napa, CA – 07/14/2009: Today,
the Senate Commerce Committee unveiled its version of the FAA
Reauthorization Act of 2009 which includes important Airline
Passengers’ Bill of Rights provisions.  Among those provisions;

  • Passengers will have the right to return to the terminal
    after three-hours on the tarmac if the pilot determines this can be
    done safely.
  • While on the tarmac, airlines will be required to provide
    food, potable water, working restrooms, and reasonable cabin
    temperature and ventilation.

“This is a major victory for airline passengers,” said Kate Hanni,
whose organization has been working for over two years for airline
passengers’ bill of rights with a three hour minimum.  “But the
war isn’t won yet.”  Airline lobbyists are already on the Hill in
force fighting against these provisions.  If and when these rights
are eventually passed by the full Senate, House leaders will still have
their say in conference.  Despite intense focus over the last two
years to persuade key House leaders of the need to impose time limits,
the House chose to leave that option to the airlines.  “This would
have led to mass consumer confusion – one airline could have a limit of
5 hours, and another airline could have set a limit of 10 hours,” says
Ms. Hanni. 

“Our coalition and airline passengers everywhere wish to thank the
members and leadership of the Senate Commerce Committee for this
important legislation,” said Ms. Hanni.  Chief proponents of the
three-hour limit were Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Senator Olympia
Snowe (R-ME).   Chairman Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced the
bill on behalf of Ranking Member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), and the
leadership of the Aviation Operations, Safety and Security
Subcommittee, Chairman Byron L. Dorgan (D-ND) and Ranking Member Jim
DeMint (R-SC).

Other airline consumer-friendly provisions were championed by Senator
Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Senator John Thune (R-SD).  “It looks
to our coalition as though this was a bipartisan, group effort. 
We’re so pleased that this committee is able to work together and focus
on the interests of the flying public,” said Ms. Hanni. has over 25,000 members and is the largest non-profit
airline passengers’ rights coalition.  For more information,
contact Kate Hanni directly at 707-337-0328 or

AP Story

Boxer Press Release