Groups support federal airline bill

Sept. 7, 2009 at 10:49 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- A passengers' rights group says it has endorsed legislation in Washington to keep airline passengers from sitting on stranded planes for more than three hours.

The Coalition for an Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights was started by Kate Hanni who sat for more than eight hours on a plane at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas. The bill, now before the U.S. Senate, gained momentum last month when a Continental Airlines flight was stranded for more than five hours in Rochester, Minn., The Austin (Texas) American-Statesman reported.

From January to June 2009, 613 planes sat on tarmacs for more than three hours, the U.S. Department of Transportation found.

The National Business Travelers Association originally opposed the bill, saying airlines should solve the problem themselves. Now the group is supporting the Senate bill.

Another group, the Business Travel Coalition supports the bill because it is unlikely airlines will fix the problem unless Congress forces them to, its chairman, Kevin Mitchell said.

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