Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights

Vacations don't always mean crystal blue waters and pink sand beaches … sometimes they mean sitting on the runway for hours, just waiting to reach your sweet escape.

That could all change this fall if Congress passes the Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights, first proposed by a California woman after she spent more than nine hours stuck on the runway of an Austin airport. In January 2008, a New York state law will go into effect, requiring airlines to provide passengers with fresh water, food, air and clean bathrooms. The proposed federal law would include those stipulations, as well as possibly the right to exit the plane.

Airlines and some frequent travelers oppose the bill, since allowing passengers to leave a plane would result in more canceled flights and make flying more expensive. READ MORE

Do you think Congress should pass the Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights and do you think it would change the quality of air travel? FOX wants to know! E-mail us and check back later to see if your response has been posted.

Here's what FOX fans are saying:

“The airlines should return to being regulated by the federal government. The promised savings and expansion of services never happened, and the airlines continue to cut corners to improve their profits. It used to be that a flight left on time, you were seated on a clean plane, served a pleasant meal offered by courteous flight attendants and arrived safely on time. Then the government fixed it … NOT!” — Jim

“I say that after two hours passengers should have the right to get off the plane. How long can you except to keep people trapped? The plane doesn't necessarily have to return to the gate. The airport can send mobile stairs and busses for people who want to get off.” — Larry (Naples, Italy)

“No one should be forced to sit in a stuffy, stinky plane because someone in the control tower can’t get the planes off the ground in a timely manner. They are overbooking and there are so many flights scheduled too close together, and that is what causes the backlog on the tarmac. If they can’t get the plane off the ground within one hour of pushing away from the gate, the people deserve to be given airport services, such as fresh air, clean toilets, fresh water and some kind of snacks. Why can’t they use busses and remove the passengers if the plane isn’t going to be allowed to take off?” — K.W. (Wisconsin)

“The ‘right’ to get off the plane may be pushing it. However, sitting on the tarmac for hours is no way to treat folks either. After three hours, it's time to go back I think.” — Tim (Arlington, TX)

“Once you board the plane, you committed to go where the pilot wants to take the plane; now it's up to the pilot. No screwing things up even worse by demanding a return to the gate. One guy who wants to go back versus 130 who want to get airborne — sorry, Mr. Changed-My-Mind gets no sympathy here.” — Howard (Overland Park, KS)

“There needs to be some prudence in what transpires with the ‘Bill of Rights.’ Too may passengers have no idea what goes into a day for an airline pilot or the hurdles we have to overcome everyday. As an airline pilot, I see the frustration everyday of people on late flights or who will miss their connections. Perhaps to go along with any bill forced on the airlines, there needs to be an education for passengers before they are allowed to exercise these ‘Rights.’ Too often, passengers have no idea what so ever as to what it is we do or deal with everyday. All they care about is the cheapest tickets available. Perhaps they need to come to grips with the true nature of what is happening and why before we push Congress into making rash laws that could harm the business greatly.” — Ken

“I agree that something should be done to protect passengers during significant delays while aboard an aircraft. Some people may have medical conditions or small children that may need special attention. However, I am not in favor of requiring the plane to return to the terminal. Some basic human needs should be provided such as food, clean restrooms and fresh air.” — Ed (Milwaukie, OR)

“There shouldn't even be a law.” — R.

“Passengers should have the right to deplane after three hours. In my opinion, the purchase of the plane ticket amounts to a contract. When the airline can’t fulfill there portion of the contract in a reasonable time, they have violated the terms. That’s the way it works for all other contracts. I am surprised the airlines haven’t been hit with a class action suit. When the first person dies on a waiting plane, there will certainly be a lawsuit.” — Myra

“No airline should be allowed to hold passengers captive against their wishes. They should be allowed to disembark if they wish. Any other time, or place, it is called imprisonment and is illegal!” — J.