Last year, I supported the "Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights" legislation in the State Senate to provide passengers stranded on airplanes at New York airports with certain basic amenities to make their wait more tolerable.
The legislation is now law and is effective as of January 1, 2008.
The new law sets basic customer standards that all major airlines should follow, while providing important consumer protections for passengers. All airlines at New York airports would be required to provide snacks and water, fresh air and power, and working rest rooms to passengers on any plane that has been delayed for more than three hours.
The law also creates the Office of Airline Consumer Advocate within the New York State Consumer Protection Board to provide the public with a New York State-based consumer advocate and contact person who can help to coordinate with the appropriate airline industry officials, federal agencies and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in the event an incident occurs. Passengers will have an Airline Ombudsman Office to whom they can turn to if they feel that an airline is violating these rights. Airlines that do not follow the law will face penalties of up to $1,000 per passenger per violation.
New York is home to some of the world’s busiest airports, and I am glad that we were able to adopt measures that will make air travel as comfortable as possible for passengers. This new law will help protect passengers on delayed flights and ensure that they are not held hostage without amenities, but rather are treated with respect.