Today, New York state legislators have passed an airline passenger bill of rights. Because federal law, in the form of the Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution, restricts what individual states can do with regard to air travel regulation, this bill is moderate.
It requires all airlines serving New York airports to provide food, water, fresh air, power, and working restrooms to passengers on any plane that has left the gate but that has been stuck on the tarmac for more than three hours.
This bill was prompted, in large part, by the fiascoes that occurred at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport on February 14, when passengers on many flights, most notably those on discount airline JetBlue, were stranded on taxiways for hours on end. Following these mass delays, JetBlue implemented their own Customer Bill of Rights.
Proponents of a federal initiative are calling for passenger compensation in the case of exorbitant delays and limits on the time that passengers can spend sitting on the tarmac.