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Passenger’s Bill of Rights Becomes Law

Hallelujah! Is help actually on the way for those of us traveling to and through New York? Well it’s not like we’re all going to fly first class without paying for it – but there does seem to be a silver-lining for passengers in New York’s three metro airports (EWR, LGA, and JFK) who get held on the tarmac for more than three hours.

Last week Elliot Spitzer signed into law a New York passenger’s bill of rights. It’s a start. The law stipulates that on airlines that have been on the tarmac delayed for more than three hours that airlines MUST provide food, water, air, restrooms, and power to their passengers. This is progress! The airlines must also provide information that clearly explains passengers their rights, consumer complaint information and contract information to file air travel service problems.

In New York, the first state to pass this kind of legislation, they’re creating an Office of Airline Consumer Advocacy that should help the next time an incident such as the awful Jet Blue stranding on Valentine’s Day which was the original impetus for this kind of legislation.

I hope that we’ll see this effort rolled out across the country. While I think it’s too bad that this kind of basic treatment requires governmental regulation – I’m just glad to see it happening, and especially in my airport home base.

According to the bill, an airline which fails to do all of this will be referred to the Attorney General’s office. They’re permitted to seek penalties up to $1,000. per passenger. While this seems clear enough, the true test will be what really happens to the first airline that doesn’t comply?

amy_ziff

My name: Amy is my name, but I'll answer to Ame, Ames or Aimee.

How I earn my keep: My beat is travel, but my passion is collecting stories from people I meet on the road.

Hotel I could move into: Must I pick only one?! The Palacio Duhau a Park Hyatt in Buenos Aires tops my list. For the stunning restoration of the palace and tasteful new tower that create a thoughtful intersection of old and new. Every public and private space captivates. I'd move for the grand Alvear entry as much as for the manicured garden. For the wine and cheese tastings, the dulce de leche, the art gallery, the flower shop and for all the careful attention to detail that went into creating a hotel that is transcendent. If I were to pick a hotel that most felt like me, it would be The Inn at the Manor in the Cotswolds. Oh, I could definitely live there curled up with a book in a leather chair in the bar or outside among the English wildflowers. If I wanted to live in a land far away, the Ngoro Ngoro Crater Lodge would make a unique home with a view of the crater floor from every room (including the loo!), sumptuous beds, endless roses and the most unusual neighbors - massive water buffalo who won't bother you if you stay close to your Maori guide.

If I won the lottery, I'd live in: A historic farmhouse with an enormous barn and hundreds of acres tucked into a small town in New England or a Malibu beach house with stunning views and the surf just steps away. On second thought, winning the lottery means I could jet from coast to coast and enjoy them both.

Favorite way to get around: By foot. Whether in the city or country, I find the best way to get to know someplace is ambling around to discover and sample the distinct sights, sounds, smells, and tastes a place has to offer.

View that took my breath away: Looking toward the sky in Arusha and watching black and white Colobus monkeys scramble among the treetops, jumping from one tree to the next, floating through the sky like a primate version of Superman. Monkeys know how to have a good time!

My most beloved place in the whole world is: The place I visited last. What can I say? I'm fickle.

Follow me on twitter @amyziff

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