This holiday season will find many flyers stuck on the tarmac for hours without benefit on any kind of passenger bill of rights. This means that airline passengers cannot expect the basic necessities of life such as food, water, or even toilets.
According to Kate Hanni, President and Founder of Coalition for Passenger’s Rights, Health and Safety [CPRHS], this year will be worse that other years due to the fact that “virtually all of the airlines have drastically reduced the number of available flights and routes.”
Passengers should carry on board their own emergency supplies including food, drink, medicines and perhaps wear some adult diapers. In addition, download the following documents:”Emergency Kit,” “We Got to Get Outta of This Plane,” and the “Stranded Passenger Survival Guide” from the Coalition for Passenger’s Rights, Health and Safety.
Aero-News.net reported yesterday that the so-called "tarmac task force" which is dominated by airline interests, failed to put any teeth into airline guidelines for passenger treatment. The Federal Tarmac Task Force has consistently shown little interest in providing for passenger basic needs. They voted Wednesday on a set of measures “aimed at better treatment of passengers during extended flight delays.”
Apparently the task force missed the mark. They couldn’t even agree on the definition of a “lengthy delay” and according to Aero-News, it only got worse from there. No matter what the task force recommended, which was precious little, it left it up to the airlines to determine “whether or not they would comply with the guidelines in the first place.”
The report "is a set of best practices, but there's nothing enforceable where a passenger can say, 'I won't be held up for more than three hours or five hours or eight hours, or without a glass of water or a sandwich,'" said Hanni.
Kate Hanni cast the only vote against adopting the task force report. Hanni also stated that the “game is still heavily weighted to business as usual.”
A Philadelphia Inquirer editorial yesterday agreed that the task force report “didn’t get off the ground.” The editorial called for Congress to pass the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights.
Given the task force report's shortcomings, Congress needs to assert itself and pass the so-called Airline Passenger Bill of Rights to guarantee fair and humane treatment. . .
Transportation Department assistant general counsel Sam Podberesky, the task force's chairman, said the department may yet issue a rule requiring airlines and airports to have contingency plans and include a time limit for tarmac delays.