What are your rights when you fly?

October 6, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Imagine being stuck on a plane tarmac for hours. What rights do you have as a passenger? With some answers is Kate Hannie, the founder of the Coalition for Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights, better known as FlyersRights.org.

Proposed Bill of Rights for Airline Passengers:

* Establish procedures to respond to all passenger complaints within 24 hours and with appropriate resolution within 2 weeks.

* Notify passengers within ten minutes of a delay of known diversions, delays and cancellations via airport overhead announcement, on aircraft announcement, and posting on airport television monitors.

* Establish procedures for returning passengers to terminal gate when delays occur so that no plane sits on the tarmac for longer than three hours without connecting to a gate.

* Provide for the essential needs of passengers during air- or ground-based delays of longer than 3 hours, including food, water, sanitary facilities, and access to medical attention.

* Provide for the needs of disabled, elderly and special needs passengers by establishing procedures for assisting with the moving and retrieving of baggage, and the moving of passengers from one area of airport to another at all times by airline personnel.

* Publish and update monthly on the company's public web site a list of chronically delayed flights, meaning those flight delayed thirty minutes or more, at least forty percent of the time, during a single month.

* Compensate "bumped" passengers or passengers delayed due to flight cancellations or postponements of over 12 hours by refund of 150% of ticket price

* The formal implementation of a Passenger Review Committee, made up of non-airline executives and employees but rather passengers and consumers - that would have the formal ability to review and investigate complaints.

* Make lowest fare information, schedules and itineraries, cancellation policies and frequent flyer program requirements available in an easily accessed location and updated in real-time.

* Ensure that baggage is handled without delay or injury; if baggage is lost or misplaced, the airline shall notify customer of baggage status within 12 hours and provide compensation equal to current market value of baggage and its contents.

* Require that these rights apply equally to all airlines code-share partners, including international partners.

More on the coalition can be found by going to www.flyersrights.com

About Kate Hanni:
Kate Hanni is one of the most passionate and dedicated national figures fighting for safeguards and protections to airline passenger's today. She is the Founder and Executive Director of the Coalition for Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights, Health and Safety (CPR for Health and Safety), the fastest growing airline passengers' coalition in the country. Whether in State Capitols or in the Halls of the U.S. Congress, Ms. Hanni has brought the need to enact legal rights and protections for the flying public to the national forefront.

Kate, her family and thousands of airline passengers were stranded on the tarmac of Austin Airport onboard 124 American Airlines flights during the Christmas holidays, December 29th, 2006. For close to ten hours, Kate and the rest of the passengers were given no food, no water, no medical attention and no basic services such as working toilettes. Unable to deplane and sitting on the tarmac at Austin airport, Kate and other passengers decided to turn anger and frustration into advocacy by creating this Coalition. "Our goal is to ensure that no other airline passenger has to experience what we went through," is the common message of the Coalition as they travel the country seeking support from the general public, travelers, partner organizations and public officials.

Over the last six months, CAPBOR has grown from100 members to more than 24,500 + Consumer Groups Pilots and Flight Attendants. On June 13, 2007, the Coalition announced the launch of a new 24 hour HOTLINE (1-877-flyers-6) for airline passengers to report their experiences. During the first day of operation, the CAPBOR Hotline received more than 920 calls from angry and frustrated passengers in less than a 3 ½ hour period. On average, the CAPBOR Hotline receives close to 100 calls per day with personal accounts of horrific experiences including passengers trapped on planes, under the most unacceptable and appalling conditions.

Kate has taken her mission on behalf of the flying public to the national airwaves. She recorded a song for Stranded Passengers called "We've Gotta Get Out of this Plane". She is a frequent guest on national television, cable and radio shows. She is a regular guest on CNBC, MSNBC, CNN, Bloomberg, ABC, Fox News and the major broadcast networks. Kate has been profiled on the Today Show, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, CBS This Morning and ABC's Nightline, and Rachel Ray among countless others. Newspaper profiles include, USA Today, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Dallas Morning News, Washington Post, Dr. Phil, Larry King Live, Michael Finney View From the Bay!!!?and the beat goes on. Magazines include Portfolio, People, Business Week, Conde Naste Executive Women, Conde Naste Traveler, and the beat goes on!!!

Kate Hanni has been a real estate Broker for 17 years. She is also a professional musician in a Motown Band called the Toasted Heads. Kate plays 12 instruments. She is a licensed Stock Broker, mother of two boys 12 and 22 years old, a Licensed Real Estate Broker. Kate's husband is the first North American in History to earn the coveted Master of Wine Credentials. Kate was named one of the top 25 most influential people per Nielson Business Meetings In April of 2007, Nov. 20, 2007 named in 33 most influential per Travel Weekly: next to Al Gore and Richard Branson and the Shiek of Dubai. In June of 2008 Kate was named Forbes Executive Women's most influential in Travel top 25!

Related link: The 25 Most Influential People in the Industry 2...


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