WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-1) on Monday called on the House Members of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Conference Committee to include his Airline Passenger Bill of Rights in the long-term FAA authorization bill.
The Airline Passenger Bill of Rights would ensure that passengers are given the option to deplane after three hours.
In addition it would require that fliers are provided with basic necessities, including access to food and water, comfortable cabin temperatures, and adequate restroom facilities.
“The Senate has acted and put consumers first by including the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights in their FAA bill – now it is time for the House to agree to do the same,” said Thompson. “Air carriers have a responsibility to provide basic services and accommodations to their passengers, and the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights would ensure they meet this responsibility.”
The Passenger Bill of Rights was included in the Senate version of the FAA Authorization bill, S. 223.
The House version of the FAA Authorization bill, H.R. 658, did not include specific language ensuring passengers could deplane after three hours on the tarmac.
House and Senate members are expected to meet in conference committee on Tuesday to discuss the final language of the legislation, including the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights protections.
Negotiations between the House and Senate conferees are expected to be completed by Feb. 17, when the current FAA bill expires.
Currently, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has rules in place saying that passengers must be given the opportunity to deplane after three hours and are provided with basic necessities.
However, these rules can be rescinded now, or at any time in the future under a current or future administration.
The DOT rules also do not require the airports themselves to have emergency contingency plans for meeting these rules.
Having the language written in law, as Thompson is calling for, would ensure that consumers are guaranteed these protections now and in the future.
Congressman Mike Thompson represents California’s First Congressional District, which includes the Counties of Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa and Yolo. He is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Rep. Thompson also is a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and sits on the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus.