For Immediate Release: Wednesday, June 13th, 9:30 AM
Contact: Kate Hanni—707-337-0328
Paul Hudson – 410-940-8934
Passenger Rights Coalition Issues Airline Strandings Report Card
Three Airlines Get Failing Grades (American, United, US Air)
— Group Announces New Toll Free Number For Passenger Complaints –
Washington, DC– Advocates for an airline passenger bill of rights today announced that American, United and US Air had all failed the group’s first Strandings Report Card, based on the total number of flights subject to excessive delays and strandings and other factors — including the lack of food and “putridness” factor on the delayed planes — in their first report card ranking airline treatment of stranded passengers. The group also announced a new toll-free (1-877-flyers6 or 1-877-359-3776) hotline for passenger complaints.
“Passengers have no rights once they enter an aircraft, incredibly, prisoners of war have more rights than passengers on a commercial airliner,” said Kate Hanni, a stranded American Airlines passenger and founder of the Coalition for An Airline Passenger Bill of Rights (CAPBOR). “Our report card gives three major airlines an F for their treatment of passengers, and that’s why we’re urging Congress to enact a real Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights.”
On May 16, the Senate Commerce Committee approved a Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, S. 1300, that included passenger rights language sponsored by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME). Action now shifts to the House Transportation Committee where an FAA reauthorization could be considered as early as next week, noted Hanni. The group supports passenger rights legislation, HR 1303, introduced by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA).
Key elements of the coalition’s passenger bill of rights platform include the following: a procedure for deplaning people stranded on the tarmac for 3 hours or more; providing essential needs for passengers during any onboard delay, truthful reporting of flight delays and cancellations and that bags be returned within 24 hours.
“The government wouldn’t let a cruise ship go to sea without lifeboats,” fellow stranded passenger Cathy Ray pointed out. “Flight attendants have a union, pilots have a union, but passengers have no union to represent them. The coalition is our union and we intend to force the government to stop the madness.”
Among the highlights of the group’s first Strandings Report Card: