Bay Area Airline Passenger Bill of Rights Lawyer
In the past several years, federal legislation, as well as legislation in several states, has been introduced with the aim of protecting passengers against the inconveniences suffered from being stranded on an aircraft for extended periods of time. Several incidents received heavy media coverage after passengers were stranded in delayed aircraft without food, water, or useable bathrooms. If you have experienced the severe inconveniences of being stranded on an aircraft for an extended period of time without being allowed to disembark, call the Bay Area aviation accident attorneys at Sterns & Walker. We can provide you with the most current information on these developing laws and discuss the circumstances of your case with you.
Proposed California Legislation
In addressing this problem, a passenger bill of rights was introduced in the California legislature which would have required airlines to provide basic necessities to stranded passengers, such as drinking water, food, fresh air and lights, and useable bathrooms. Although the bill passed the California Assembly in 2008, it failed in the California Senate. The California Airline Passenger Bill of Rights has been reintroduced to the Assembly and is modeled after recent U.S. Department of Transportation rules.
Despite the failure of legislation in several states, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) adopted regulations in April of 2010 to address the problem of airline tarmac delays and to protect passengers. All domestic airlines must provide food, potable drinking water, useable restrooms, and any necessary medical assistance within two hours of an aircraft being delayed. Passengers must also be allowed to disembark the aircraft after three hours of delay. Violations of this rule will subject an airline to potential penalties of up to $27,500 per passenger. The regulations also provide that:
- Airlines are prohibited from scheduling chronically delayed flights.
- Airlines must designate an employee to monitor delays and cancellations, respond to complaints, and provide information to passengers.
- Flight delay information must be displayed on airline websites.
- Airlines must adopt customer service plans and audit their own compliance.
Proposed Federal Legislation
California’s own Representative Mike Thompson (D) introduced the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights Act of 2011 to the U.S. House of Representatives on February 16, 2011. The major difference in this proposed bill and the DOT’s policy is that the DOT regulations apply only to U.S. domestic airlines flying within the United States. The proposed bill applies to both domestic flights and international flights. It also applies to all carriers (even non-U.S. based airlines) flying in or out of the country. Representative Thompson has stated that passenger rights need to be strengthened by such federal legislation.
Airline Passenger Rights Attorney
If you have been stranded on a delayed aircraft for an extended period of time without adequate food, water, useable bathrooms, or unacceptable environmental conditions, you may have a legal remedy. Contact the Law Offices of Sterns & Walker for the latest information on your rights as a passenger.