2007-08-10 / Community

Smith Applauds Airline Passenger Bill Of Rights

State Senator Malcolm A. Smith recently praised Governor Eliot Spitzer for signing a bill that protects the rights of passengers on delayed flights.

The Airline Passenger Bill of Rights requires that all airlines operating out of John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia Airports provide their passengers with food, water, fresh air, and working toilets on any flight left stranded on the tarmac for three hours or more.

"Flight delays are an unfortunate fact of life," said Smith. "While a 20- minute delay can be annoying, being left on the runway for five or six hours or more without food, water and proper ventilation is unacceptable. So I applaud the Governor for signing this first-in-the-nation law to protect passengers."

The bill also establishes consumer protection guidelines, including the establishment of the Office of Airline Consumer Advocate within the Consumer Protection Board, and compelling all air carriers to provide complaint contact information at all service desks.

"Queens-based JetBlue Airlines was one of the first carriers to adopt their own customer bill of rights," said Smith. "Their actions demonstrate that they are good corporate citizens who care about their customers. This bill shows that the Legislature and the Governor care about travelers, too."

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