A federal court has overturned a New York law that required airlines to provide adequate food and water and clean bathrooms to passengers stuck on planes for over three hours before takeoff, CNN is reporting.
The state law was unique, less than a year old, and was upheld by a lower court. It's now null and void, as it is not clear whether state attorneys will ask the Supreme Court to consider the case.
The court ruled in its decision:
"If New York's view regarding the scope of its regulatory authority carried the day, another state could be free to enact a law prohibiting the service of soda on flights departing from its airports, while another could require allergen-free food options on its outbound flights, unraveling the centralized federal framework for air travel."
Read the full opinion here.
BudgetTravel.com has been covering the effort to create a Passengers Bill of Rights throughout the past year. Editor Erik Torkells has blogged that "the federal government MUST declare a maximum time that passengers can be held on the tarmac." About 3,000 readers voted in our online poll last year, with respondents overwhelmingly favoring the creation of a Passengers Bill of Rights. We've also covered developments this summer, including a short video shot by passengers of what a 7-hour airplane delay felt like ("The Passengers Strike Back") and the summer's worst flight delay (which lasted 7 days).
Airline delays, as we've noted, are probably worse than official statistics say, and the statistics are bad enough as it is: Last June alone, 462 flights taxied out and were stuck on tarmacs for three or more hours, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. That was roughly 6 percent of flights.
Feel free to sound off about passenger rights.
The Coalition for Passenger Rights (which supported the New York law)
Air Transport Association (which opposed the New York law)