Editorial: Airlines need passenger measure

Published 7:14 am Thursday, September 24, 2009

Six hours on an airplane sitting on a tarmac with no access to food, water or restrooms is tantamount to false imprisonment.

What happened in Rochester last month and other ghastly descriptions of being trapped in an airplane for hare-brained scheduling reasons are good reasons to favor a Passenger Bill of Rights, presently being considered by Congress.

Such a measure would aid in the prevention of having an airport with a tarnished reputation as a result of the actions of the airlines that serve it or because of poor weather far away.

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It simply is scary to be more or less jailed on an airplane. A Bill of Rights would require food, water and restroom access, and it would mandate that people be allowed to deplane at least once every three hours.

Any business person knows customer service is key. While most airports seem to realize the importance of customer service, it seems many airlines have forgotten that. Sometimes they treat people more like cargo.

No wonder they need legislation to correct the situation. In fact, embracing a Passenger Bill of Rights would seem to be smart move for the on-time airlines that don’t want their industry’s reputation to be trashed by the behavior of the troubled ones.

In the long run, we hope no passengers ever have the same problem flying out of the Rochester airport ever again.