Final Passage of Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights in FAA Bill a "Major Victory"

Feb 06, 2012, 18:00 ET from

An Array of New Rights for Passengers Will Make Skies Safer, More Efficient

NAPA, Calif., Feb. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- today hailed the passage of a new, four-year FAA Reauthorization Act that contains a number of significant new protections for airline passengers. After five years of continuous effort, worked to build a nationwide coalition of individuals, groups and lawmakers to make the legislation a reality, despite stiff opposition from airline industry lobbyists.

"We would like to thank all our supporters across the U.S. and our champions in the Congress for making the Passenger's Bill of Rights a reality including: Senators Barbara Boxer and Olympia Snowe, Senator Chuck Schumer, and Congressman Mike Thompson," said Kate Hanni, Founder and Exec. Director of "Airline consumers are now protected against a host of abuses and the skies are safer and more efficient today."

The new FAA Bill contains provisions for the following:

  • A Tarmac Delay law, leaving it to the DOT to manage the rulemaking's for 3 hours domestic and 4 hours on the tarmac for international flights.
  • Musical instrument provisions to allow musicians to bring instruments on board or checked at no extra charge
  • A smoking prohibition
  • "No Child Left Unbuckled" air carriers must now require seat dimensions be disclosed so that parents can choose seating that will fit an infant safety restraint
  • Establishment of an Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection: There will be one appointed from each of the categories: Airports, Airlines, Government and one Consumer Advocate with Expertise in Aviation issues.

While the 3-hour tarmac delay time limit is not a part of the bill, cautions against excessive delay are. In addition, access to food, water, and medical treatment must always be available, removing DOT's restriction that those vital items be made available only after two hours on the ramp. Climate control in the cabin is also mandated.

Another key victory is the addition of a requirement for airport contingency plans to that for airline plans. Many long tarmac strandings occur during extreme weather conditions. FlyersRights has long noted that those events demonstrate, time and again, this key provision will, for the first time, foster the kind of communication, coordination, and cooperation between the many players in our complex air travel system. is the largest Airline Passengers Rights Organization in the World with 50,000 members and a toll free hotline manned 24/7 for airline passengers in distress: 1-877-359-3776