Thursday, March 12, 2009 Responds to Department of Transportation Rulemaking Proposal (formerly Coalition for an Airline Passengers Bill of Rights) today filed comments on the U.S. Department of Transportation's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on "Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections."

Our Comments:

-Summary of position

In short we commented that the U.S. DOT should strengthen and adopt a final regulation on this topic as soon as possible. DOT must set minimum standards for U.S. airlines to meet in preparing their Contingency Plans to deal with lengthy tarmac delays - rather than letting each airline set its own guidelines without Federal review and approval. Those Contingency Plans and the 1999 -- unenforceable -- "Customer First Commitments" of the major airlines must be included in all airline Contracts of Carriage -- their contract agreement with their passengers. It is also critically important that DOT monitor the language the airlines insert in their Contracts of Carriage so that those airline promises and other obligations will be easily understood by laymen and not be so conditioned by exceptions that a state court (small claims) judge wouldn't be able to decide the passenger's claim.

- Submitting comments

We are inviting our members and any other members of the public to review our comments and, if you agree with them, posting a letter of support on that Docket (in indicating the degree of your support, and any other supplemental comments (or differences) that you would like to offer.

While the technical deadline for DOT's receiving comments is today (March 9), DOT will accept, post and fully consider your comments if received within the next few days.

The easiest way to file comments is by faxing your letter to (202)493-2251. It usually takes about one business day for the DOT to post comments. You may also submit your comments directly into the docket portal (go to and follow the online instructions for submitting comments), or by mail:

Docket Management Facility,
U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200
New Jersey Ave., SE., West Building
Ground Floor, Room W12–140,
Washington, DC 20590–0001.

At a minimum, include the docket number in your heading as we have done so that your letter will be recorded in the correct docket:

Docket No. DOT-OST-2007-0022
RIN No. 2105-AD72

Here is a link to the DOT Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that we filed our comments against.

Sincerely yours,

Kate Hanni Report Card: Airlines Flunk Again With 1,232 Excessive Tarmac Delays in 2008

Delta Worst For Long Tarmac Delays, Southwest Best In Customer Treatment

WASHINGTON (March 11) – Noting 1,232 tarmac delays of 3 hours or more last year, today issued its annual “Airline Stranding Report Card.”

Get your copy here>> 2008 Airline Stranding Report Card

The longest delay, 10+ hours on the tarmac, was on Delta Airlines Flight 1201 from Atlanta to West Palm Beach, FL, on January 16, 2008. With no food, water or temperature controls, passengers were given misleading messages about takeoff times as the plane was de-iced multiple times.

“Too many Americans are trapped in tubes on the tarmac for too long,” said Executive Director Kate Hanni. “It’s time for Congress to limit tarmac delays to 3 hours.” Hanni has lobbied for an Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights since being stranded herself for 9 hours on an American Airlines flight in 2006.

The report card says Delta had the greatest number of tarmac delays over 3 hours. Southwest Airlines was the best rated, for incorporating into their contract an actionable strategy to move customers off planes stuck on the tarmac and for providing food, water, trash removal, toilet cleaning and temperature controls.

The report was based on a combination of media accounts, government statistics and verified eyewitness accounts sent in to its website (

This year’s Special Award winners included:
  • Delta won the "When you are on the ground they treat you like dirt" Award, for having the most and longest strandings and the most callous disregard for passengers.
  • American Airlines won the “Flying Fickle Finger of Fate” Award, for diverting a 13 hour flight from Japan to Detroit, where it sat on the tarmac for 7.5 hours, forcing passengers to spend 20.5 hours on board. Vomit was in the sink and toilets, and the toilets were inoperable.
  • US Airways won the “Nausea” Award for having the worst overflowing toilets.
  • Southwest Airlines won the "My Heavens" award for best airline overall, since Southwest maintains a “contract of carriage” that protects passengers against strandings.
“It’s not just a matter of passenger convenience, it’s a matter of public safety. I wonder if heroic Captain Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger and his crew could have performed as they did after 7, 9 or even 12 hours on the tarmac?” Hanni asked.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Canada and US Mark Up Passengers Rights Bills on Same Day

For Immediate Release:
Contact: Kate Hanni 707-337-0328 for more info.

Canada and United States to Consider Airline Passengers Rights on Same Day...
March 5th, 2009
Joint US/Canada Teleconference Wednesday: March 4th at 11:30 am EST

Who: Kate Hanni Exec. Dir. (CAPBOR) will be joined by HON. Woodrow French, Mayor of Newfoundland Canada, HON. Jim Maloway, Member of Parliament, Bruce Cran President of Consumer's Association of Canada to participate in a Teleconference discussing the serendipity of Canada and the US considering an "Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights" on the same day.

What/When: The teleconference will take place March 4th at 11:30 am ET, the day before FlyersRights legislation is to be considered in both the Canadian House of Commons and the Committee of Transportation and Infrastructure of the US House of Representatives.

On Thursday March 5th the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is scheduled to Mark up HR: 915 at 11:00 am, which contains an airline passengers bill of rights, simultaneously the Canadian Parliament House of Commons will debate C-310 the Canadian Airline Passengers Bill of Rights.

For an update on these two bills that will transform airline passengers rights in North America, please join us at 11:30 am Eastern Time to find out what these bills offer and why North America needs meaningful Passengers Rights legislation!

- Toll-Free Dial-In Number: 888-296-6828- Toll Dial-In Number: 916-233-0780- Participant PIN: 193856#

Call us!

To Book any of the participants call Kate Hanni (707) 337-0328