Court Strikes Down NY’s Airline Passenger Bill of Rights


So much for justice for the JetBlue passengers stranded on the JFK tarmac for 10 hours without food. A federal appeals court has struck down the New York Airline Passenger Bill of Rights, which would have required airline carriers to provide basic amenities like food, water, fresh air and clean toilets to passengers trapped on the tarmac in excess of three hours.

The Airline Transport Association of America, a trade group representing a number of carriers, lodged this second challenge to the New York State law earlier this month, and successfully argued that regulation should remain in the hands of the federal government and shouldn’t be handled on a state-by-state basis.

“If New York’s view regarding the scope of its regulatory authority carried the day, another state could be free to enact a law prohibiting the service of soda on flights departing from its airports, while another could require allergen-free food options on its outbound flights, unraveling the centralized federal framework for air travel,” the court wrote.

“This clear and decisive ruling sends a strong message to other states that are considering similar legislation,” the trade group said in a statement.

For Queens Assemblyman Michael Gianaris, who authored the bill, today’s decision was a major let-down for passengers. “The court’s decision is a disappointment to anyone who has suffered at the hands of airlines that care more about profits than their customers,” he said in a statement.

“This is far from over,” he added. “While this decision is a setback to passengers’ rights, I will continue fighting until someone in a position of authority does the right thing and stands up to protect the flying public.”