Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. today applauded the efforts of airline passenger advocate Kate Hanni and other advocates for staging a "Strand-In" in Washington, D.C. today to draw attention to the need for federal legislation to protect stranded airline passengers. Ms. Hanni, founder of the Coalition for an Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights, has set up a tent on the Mall today in which the conditions of being stranded on an airplane for hours have been simulated.
Senator Fuschillo is the author of New York State’s new Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights law that will require airlines to provide passengers stranded on planes for more than three hours with basic amenities such as food, water, clean bathrooms, power and fresh air.
Senator Fuschillo (R-Merrick, Long Island), Chairman of the New York State Senate Committee on Consumer Protection, said, "I applaud the tireless efforts of Kate Hanni to press Congress to enact legislation requiring airlines to let passengers off stranded planes after three hours. In the absence of a federal law, New York State enacted its own law this summer, working within the jurisdiction available to us. New York’s law will ensure that passengers are treated with respect by the airlines that serve our airports and are not held hostage on delayed flights without basic amenities."
Ms. Hanni testified in favor of New York’s new law at a hearing conducted by Senator Fuschillo and the Senate Consumer Protection Committee at JFK Airport in New York City in May.
While federal law places restrictions on what individual states can do when it comes to legislation relating to air travel, federal courts have held that the provision of "amenities" for air travelers is one area that states can legitimately address, which is why the New York State law focuses on providing amenities to stranded passengers, rather than requiring airlines to get passengers off planes. Airlines that violate New York’s new law will be subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per passenger per violation.
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