Wednesday Mar. 26, 2008 @ 4:38 am By

In a follow up to a post we had at the end of January concerning a Passenger Bill of Rights for flying… it took a bit of a hit today in NY. The New York state law looking to gain approval for seeking better treatment of passengers stuck on grounded airplanes was thrown out Tuesday by an appeals court, which essentially said air travel is already regulated by the federal government.

“While the state’s so-called Passenger Bill of Rights was laudable, “only the federal government has the authority to enact such a law,” the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals said in a written ruling.”

Last year NY passed the first state law on air passenger rights in part thanks to rising passenger backlash at poor treatment by the ever less caring airlines. The law was adopted after JetBlue Airways mishandled an ice storm in New York in February 2007 that left passengers stranded on the runway at JFK Airport for up to 10 hours. The law required airlines to provide passengers who are confined to a grounded airliner for more than three hours with basic necessities, including food, drinking water and clean bathrooms.

It was reported today the the Air Transport Association of America, which represents major U.S. airlines, had challenged the law, saying it is preempted by federal regulations, and that a U.S. District court in Albany had rejected the group’s lawsuit, but the 2nd Circuit overturned that ruling today.

Essentially, it comes down to state versus federal level of control of these types of issues. And as usual, we are stuck in the middle as this peeing match moves forward. So, I will end this post with a very true and telling quote on the day from the law’s lead sponsor, Democratic Assemblyman Michael Gianaris of Queens, concerning this topic, “This decision strips the public of even the barest protections against a very wealthy and powerful industry.”

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