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The Passenger Bill of Rights for the airline industry

by Ivan Seeking
Tags: airline, industry, passenger, rights
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Ivan Seeking
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Dec29-10, 07:07 PM
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Domestic airlines flights are subject to this law, which requires that the airline cite a specific maximum time that passengers will be left sitting on the tarmac in the event of problems. If a flight is left sitting for a period of time longer than that advertised, the airline can be fined $27,500 per passenger.

I haven't given this any thought but wanted to throw it out for discussion. Why not leave enough for the TSB to cover the cost of enforcing the law, then give the rest [most of it] to the affected passengers?
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Proton Soup
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Dec29-10, 07:38 PM
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you know how bureaucrats are. they'll find a way to spend it. if you don't spend every dime, you'll have less to spend next year.
Ivan Seeking
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Dec29-10, 07:40 PM
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Quote Quote by Proton Soup View Post
you know how bureaucrats are. they'll find a way to spend it. if you don't spend every dime, you'll have less to spend next year.
I don't understand your point. It would simply be a matter of Congress mandating where the money goes.

By accepting the money, one agrees not to sue, which I would imagine is an option if the airline violates their published contract.

Proton Soup
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Dec29-10, 07:44 PM
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The Passenger Bill of Rights for the airline industry

Quote Quote by Ivan Seeking View Post
I don't understand your point. It would simply be a matter of Congress mandating where the money goes.

By accepting the money, one agrees not to sue, which I would imagine is an option if the airline violates their published contract.

the point is they'll ask TSB how much they need to enforce it, and TSB will find a way to say all of it, and probably more.
turbo
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Dec29-10, 07:51 PM
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I can't tell you how many wasted hours I have spent in Newark because of "equipment problems" or "weather problems" at the destination. The problem with excuse #2 is that Bangor International Airport was always kept clear of snow and well-maintained in all conditions because it was home to a SAC refueling wing that had to be ready to fly at all times.

One time, I was stuck in Newark with a flight crew that HAD to be in Bangor for an early-morning departure. I called ground-control in Bangor, and told the crew what the Bangor controllers told me about the weather conditions there (light fog and mist). The crew chartered a limousine (a small bus, actually) to take them to Bangor, and insisted that I accompany them. I got to the airport very late, but at least I got to get home in the early morning, and had a young and cute seat-mate (new flight attendant) slumping all over me all the way to the airport. She was drooling, too, but I attribute that to her sleep-deprivation and not to my physical attributes.
Ivan Seeking
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Dec30-10, 02:15 AM
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Airline travel is probably about the only circumstance in civilized society that allows a vendor to literally hold their customers hostage. Once that door closes, it is near to impossible to get off the plane. That is just unacceptable when the duration of the event gets into many hours. In a very real sense, passengers can become hostages. It is a form of torture and some people do lose it. I've been in a few bad situations and I've seen people lose it. It seems logical to me that a failure to honor the published promises in this regard entitles the victims to compensation. $20K per passenger sounds just about right.
turbo
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Dec30-10, 02:34 AM
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Continental's short-flights were the worst ever in this regard. They needed to have a plane and crew at Bangor for the next morning, and if the flights were lightly-loaded, they would strand you at Newark claiming all kinds of problems for which they didn't have to compensate you, until they got a plane-ful of passengers (usually for the last flight out). I HATE Continental. The flight crew that adopted me and took me back to Maine were pretty impressed because I had called around and done research. When the gate agent cited "mechanical failure", I gave him the flight number and the tail number of the plane that came into Newark and departed that was supposedly our ride back home, and when the agent backed down from that lie and cited weather problems, I gave him the telephone number to the Bangor airport and gave him the current weather conditions. I did this rather loudly, so all the of the stranded people at the gate could get an idea what Continental was doing to them.

If you have every been stuck at Newark, you know that it's not a pretty thing. At least at O'Hare you have a chance at spending some time getting some over-priced food and coffee. Newark is a Soviet-era Gulag of an airport.
WhoWee
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Dec30-10, 09:37 AM
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Quote Quote by Ivan Seeking View Post
Domestic airlines flights are subject to this law, which requires that the airline cite a specific maximum time that passengers will be left sitting on the tarmac in the event of problems. If a flight is left sitting for a period of time longer than that advertised, the airline can be fined $27,500 per passenger.

I haven't given this any thought but wanted to throw it out for discussion. Why not leave enough for the TSB to cover the cost of enforcing the law, then give the rest [most of it] to the affected passengers?
I had not considered this either - it's a good topic for discussion.

While domestic delays are frustrating - foreign travel can be much worse.

I had a flight out of Thessaloniki Airport in Greece once with a "layover" - somewhere I never heard of previously. It was Summertime and very hot. We were on an older and smaller passenger jet (all seats filled) and landed at the "somewhere" location on time. It turns out the location did not have a terminal and was basically a parcel/freight pick-up stop. The layover lasted a few hours as we waited on the plane, with the motors (and air) turned off. As mentioned, it was very hot outside and we sat in the mid-day sun. On a positive note, they did open the door to bring in fresh air.
Ivan Seeking
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Dec31-10, 01:17 AM
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Quote Quote by WhoWee View Post
I had not considered this either - it's a good topic for discussion.
What struck me was that by publishing a specific limit, they have entered into a contract with the customer. If a company violates a contract, they are open to litigation. Given that this violation of the contract is form of duress, and given the mental anguish and physical discomfort that one must sometimes endure, it seems that civil liablity is the next logical step. This could be avoided by awarding the lion's share of the existing penalty to the victims.

While domestic delays are frustrating - foreign travel can be much worse.

I had a flight out of Thessaloniki Airport in Greece once with a "layover" - somewhere I never heard of previously. It was Summertime and very hot. We were on an older and smaller passenger jet (all seats filled) and landed at the "somewhere" location on time. It turns out the location did not have a terminal and was basically a parcel/freight pick-up stop. The layover lasted a few hours as we waited on the plane, with the motors (and air) turned off. As mentioned, it was very hot outside and we sat in the mid-day sun. On a positive note, they did open the door to bring in fresh air.
My worst experience was trying to land in Lima, Peru. The airport was fogged in and we ran out of fuel while waiting to land. We ended up landing at a military base where we were apparently held hostage [literally] until Delta agree to pay the price demanded for fuel. When we saw military guys with machine guns take positions around the plane, we knew it was getting interesting. It was hot [~100 degrees F], we ran out of water and soft drinks, the toilets were full, and by the end people were starting to freak out. In total we were on that plane for 24 hours. Luckily I had worked 36 hours straight before getting on the plane, so I slept through most of it.

We sat on the runway for about six hours once, IIRC, on a domestic flight. There were numerous episodes that involved up to a few hours.

Funny, I was thinking about the consequences of a law like this? If I were still a frequent flyer, I would be flying with the airline citing the shortest maximum tarmac time. Sooner or later it's bound to pay off!
mugaliens
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Jan2-11, 12:00 AM
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Quote Quote by Ivan Seeking View Post
I don't understand your point. It would simply be a matter of Congress mandating where the money goes.
When Proton Soup said, "you know how bureaucrats are. they'll find a way to spend it. if you don't spend every dime, you'll have less to spend next year," I understood him to mean, based on my own experience with government spending, is that next year's budgets are largely determined by whether you spent what you were given this year. If not, the budget director's reason is that you obviously didn't need it, therefore that amount will be removed to be used elsewhere.
nismaratwork
#11
Jan2-11, 12:03 AM
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I don't know about this bill... I prefer my silent pact to me: If I'm on the tarmac for more than 4 hours, I'm blowing a hatch and getting off. Good luck getting that bird in the air with a blown door you have to re-attach and certify with a new slide!

Think about it, that flight recently was stuck on the tarmac for 11 hours on the INCOMING leg of an international trip. How did NO ONE on that flight just turn the handle on an emergency door!?
Ivan Seeking
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Jan2-11, 10:52 AM
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Quote Quote by nismaratwork View Post
I don't know about this bill... I prefer my silent pact to me: If I'm on the tarmac for more than 4 hours, I'm blowing a hatch and getting off. Good luck getting that bird in the air with a blown door you have to re-attach and certify with a new slide!

Think about it, that flight recently was stuck on the tarmac for 11 hours on the INCOMING leg of an international trip. How did NO ONE on that flight just turn the handle on an emergency door!?
That is an option, but you will go directly to jail. Or worse, they may not credit your frequent flyer miles to your account!
WhoWee
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Jan2-11, 11:43 AM
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Quote Quote by Ivan Seeking View Post
That is an option, but you will go directly to jail. Or worse, they may not credit your frequent flyer miles to your account!
You might fare better if you irritate everyone else on the plane to throw you out and close the hatch behind you? However, baggage recovery might be an issue.
Al68
#14
Jan2-11, 12:14 PM
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Quote Quote by Ivan Seeking View Post
Domestic airlines flights are subject to this law, which requires that the airline cite a specific maximum time that passengers will be left sitting on the tarmac in the event of problems. If a flight is left sitting for a period of time longer than that advertised, the airline can be fined $27,500 per passenger.

I haven't given this any thought but wanted to throw it out for discussion. Why not leave enough for the TSB to cover the cost of enforcing the law, then give the rest [most of it] to the affected passengers?
I partially agree on this. I see no justification whatsoever for government, instead of passengers, to collect money from the airline because of passenger inconvenience. It's like government is making the airline compensate passengers for their time, then taxing it at 100%.
$20K per passenger sounds just about right.
But that's pretty extreme. If that were the case, every flight in the country would be delayed on purpose, with passengers conspiring to figure out how to get $20K each without getting in trouble. (Sight exaggeration, maybe. But $20K is a lot of money for some of us).

A more modest compensation per hour (above the specified allowed time) seems far more reasonable to me. Something a little less tempting than a bag of gold.
Ivan Seeking
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Jan2-11, 12:25 PM
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Quote Quote by Al68 View Post
A more modest compensation per hour (above the specified allowed time) seems far more reasonable to me. Something a little less tempting than a bag of gold.
The idea of an hourly compensation is logical. I was just using the existing flat penalty of $27,500 per passenger, as a basis. As it is right now, once a flight has exceeded the maximum delay time, the airline has no additional incentive to get the passengers off the plane.

I don't think a passenger can delay a flight, esp once the plane is on the tarmac.
Al68
#16
Jan2-11, 12:38 PM
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Quote Quote by Ivan Seeking View Post
The idea of an hourly compensation is logical. I was just using the existing flat penalty of $27,500 per passenger, as a basis. As it is right now, once a flight has exceeded the maximum delay time, the airline has no additional incentive to get the passengers off the plane.
I think most passengers would think a couple hundred bucks, or a refund, or something similar would be fair for a few hours delay. Certainly much better than knowing that government got paid $27,500 for their time and inconvenience while they got nothing.
I don't think a passenger can delay a flight, esp once the plane is on the tarmac.
For $20K apiece, they could afford to hire outside help. Have you ever seen those reality shows that get people on the street to do far more for far less money?
nismaratwork
#17
Jan2-11, 01:21 PM
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Quote Quote by Ivan Seeking View Post
That is an option, but you will go directly to jail. Or worse, they may not credit your frequent flyer miles to your account!
You have to ask yourself: arrest and bail... or 11 MORE hours in a metal sausage with stale air and a sore back? Besides, how's that going to play in the media?... if a flight attendant can just get pissed, curse everyone out, grab beers and do the same... I think someone who decides to escape virtual imprisonment is going to be given a fair shake.

Either way, at least I'd be away from crying babies and funk... I can live with criminals, after all they run our airline industry.
Ivan Seeking
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Jan3-11, 03:33 PM
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Quote Quote by nismaratwork View Post
... Besides, how's that going to play in the media?... if a flight attendant can just get pissed, curse everyone out, grab beers and do the same... I think someone who decides to escape virtual imprisonment is going to be given a fair shake..
The attendant was arrested at his nearby home about a half an hour later by Port Authority police.

Steven Slater, 38, of the Belle Harbor section of Queens, N.Y., has been charged with criminal mischief and reckless endangerment, according to a spokeswoman for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which runs the New York-area airports. The case is still being investigated but will be referred to the Queens District Attorney's office...
http://abcnews.go.com/US/jetblue-fli...ry?id=11361298

Slater pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal mischief in October for the runway meltdown that briefly turned him into a hero of the working stiff...
http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/...k_trying_.html


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