Press Statement
For Immediate Release:
Contact: Gil Meneses
(202) 445-1570

Coalition for Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights Reacts to Air Transport Association Comments on Extreme Weather

“Blaming the System is the Easiest Excuse to Avoid Government Intervention on Behalf of the Flying Public,” – Kate Hanni, Coalition Spokesperson

Washington, D.C. (February 23, 2007) – The Coalition for Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights issued the following statement from its spokesperson, Kate Hanni, on the Air Transport Association (ATA) Board statement on extreme weather procedures.

“Blaming the system is the easiest excuse to avoid government intervention on behalf of the flying public. The bottom line is that no matter what the FAA or traffic controllers say, the pilot is always the final decision-maker in any situation. This latest attempt by the Air Transport Association (ATA) to hide behind FAA regulations is a sad excuse and a cowardly attempt to evade blame and point the finger in the wrong direction.

Any internal guidelines are simply a band aid that airlines can remove at their whim. This is merely a pre-emptive move to stop the bleeding and stop legislation.

It is evident from our December 29th experience on American Airlines and last week’s stranded passengers in New York aboard jetBlue that the airlines are not willing to protect the interests and well-being of their passengers. Nor are they willing to police themselves to ensure that similar incidents are not repeated.

We applaud Senator Boxer and Congressman Thompson’s efforts to protect the flying public and look forward to working with them and Congressman Oberstar, Chairman of the House Transportation Committee and members of Congress to ensure the introduction and passage of a comprehensive, enforceable Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights.”

The Coalition for Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights now counts 13,000 members nationwide. The coalition continues to gather momentum and support from public officials, national organizations and the flying public. Through several recent visits to Capitol Hill, members of the coalition have met with a number of Members of Congress and will continue to visit Washington, D.C. until an Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights is enacted.