/ March 26, 2008

NY Passenger Bill of Rights Struck Down

As if weary travelers needed more bad news: the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled this week that New York’s Airline Passenger Bill of Rights (PBR) violates the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution, reversing an earlier decision against the ATA. The court argued that airline regulations could only be enacted by the federal government, preventing a patchwork of state-specific laws that would inevitably lead to confusion and conflict. However, the court did not hesitate to comment on the real need to protect the rights of passengers, stating:

“Although the goals of the PBR are laudable and the circumstances motivating its enactment deplorable, only the federal government has the authority to enact such a law.”

Those “deplorable conditions” the court spoke of included overflowing airplane lavatories, a lack of food and water, and being stranded on the runways for 10 hours or more. (Anyone in Congress listening? These regs can only be drafted by the federal government? Cue the regulators!)

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