Holding pattern

The demise of New York's passenger bill of rights puts the spotlight on Congress

Source: Washington Post Editorial (Free Registration)

Well, it was a good try. The New York state law that sought to bring a little dignity to flying by requiring air carriers to provide fresh air, lights, functioning restrooms and "adequate food and drinking water" during a delay of three hours or more at John F. Kennedy or La Guardia airports was struck down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. The rationale: Regulation of the airlines is a federal, not a state, function. As much as we want air carriers not to treat passengers like cattle, we're not unhappy with this outcome. State micromanagement of their operations is not the way to bring carriers in line. The New York statute was a reaction to the Valentine's Day horror of 2007, when a freak ice storm in the New York area canceled hundreds of flights and trapped thousands of travelers in airport terminals and on tarmacs -- some of the latter for up to 10 hours without food, water or working bathrooms.

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