Boxer’s air travel bill to be heard next week

boxer.jpgU.S. Senators Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, announced today that their Airline Passenger Bill of Rights Act of 2007 — which would ensure travelers aren’t unnecessarily trapped on airplanes or deprived of food, water or adequate restrooms — will be heard next Wednesday, April 11, by the Senate Commerce Committee, on which both senators sit.

Said Boxer, in her news release: “I am pleased that the Commerce Committee is moving forward quickly to examine some of the recent incidents in air travel and what we can do to ensure the safety and well-being of travelers. We all understand that delays happen in air travel, but no one should be held hostage on an airplane for hours without food, safe drinking water or functioning restrooms.”

Boxer and Snowe introduced the bill in February after passengers were stuck aboard grounded planes for up to 11 hours in New York; something similar happened in Texas back in December.

The bill would require airlines to offer passengers the option of safely leaving a plane once that plane has sat on the ground three hours after the plane door has closed, unless the pilot deems that unsafe due to inclement weather or other emergency, or if the plane is expected to take off within 30 minutes; this option would be provided every three hours that the plane continues to sit on the ground. The bill also would require airlines to provide passengers with necessary services such as food, potable water and adequate restroom facilities while a plane is delayed on the ground.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.