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Passenger bill of rights update

Will this be the winter that finally leads to an air passenger bill of rights? If the buzz is any indication, it just may be. JetBlue’s customer bill of rights, which the airline posted yesterday (and I wrote about yesterday), is a big move toward ensuring that passengers have some recourse for delays and getting stuck in planes on the tarmac.

But the recent series of debacles (8 hours on the runway plus lame $4 snack boxes equals a collective passenger refrain of “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.”) in air travel has given new strength to the call for legislation that will hold more airlines accountable.

Though not everyone is in favor of legislating passenger rights (the airline lobbyists are among the most vocal critics), the direction of the groundswell is clear, and even ambivalent industry experts seem to be leaning in the direction of supporting a move in Congress. SmarterTravel’s frequent flier guru and Up Front blogger Tim Winship has written on the topic multiple times recently. In early February, he offered some of the history of the debate, and just yesterday took apart some of the arguments against a bill of passenger rights. On MSNBC,’s Ed Hewitt follows the debate from 1999 forward and outlines the proposed bill of rights. The Coalition for an Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights blog tracks the debate and weighs in. And over on the Travel Insider, there’s a petition going in support of passenger rights.

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