NEW YORK (Reuters) - Governor Eliot Spitzer has signed what he calls a “passenger bill of rights” to protect air travelers stuck on airliners at New York’s busy airports, the state said on Thursday.
The measure comes as passenger groups call for federal legislation to force airlines to take better care of passengers after a string of high-profile runway delays. The airlines are lobbying hard to fend off any legislation.
New York’s John F. Kennedy airport has been at the forefront of the debate since February, when discount carrier JetBlue Airways Corp left hundreds of passengers on planes at its hub for up to 10 hours during an ice storm.
According to the new legislation, airlines operating out of New York airports must provide passengers with food, water, fresh air, power and working restrooms on any flight that has left the gate and been on the tarmac for more than three hours.
“As a major international travel hub, it is our duty to take the lead in adopting measures that will ease air travel for passengers,” Spitzer said in a statement.
The new law also requires air carriers to post complaint contact information at all service desks and establishes the role of a New York-based consumer advocate who can coordinate communication between airline industry officials, federal agencies and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in the event of serious delays.
Reporting by Bill Rigby