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2001 Int'l Travel L.J. 102 (2001)
Flight or Fight: The Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights

handle is hein.journals/itlj2001 and id is 108 raw text is: 2001] International Travel Law journal

ILIGHT OR FIGHT: THE AIRLINE PASSENGERS'
BILL OF RIGHTS
Timothy M Ravich

1. See Complaint of Marti
Sousanis, Sousanis v
Northwest Airlines, No. C-99-
2994 (N.D. Ca. 2000))
2. Ex Parte Amended Class
Action Complaint, Koczara, et
al. v Wayne County, No. 99-
900422 (Ml Cir. Ct. Wayne
County).

In January 1999, Marti Sousanis, like thousands of post-
holiday travellers, arrived at a crowded airport ready to
go home. After waiting several hours in multiple lines at
Detroit Metropolitan Airport, she boarded Northwest
Airlines flight 992 to San Francisco.1 An announcement
reported the flight was on time. Instead, the airplane
sat on the tarmac. It sat. It waited. One hour passed.
The plane remained still. Another hour passed. A devas-
tating blizzard covered the Detroit airport with over a
foot of snow and stranded Sousanis's flight and more
than two dozen other airplanes for up to eleven hours.
Conditions on the planes became nightmarish as the
hours passed. Food and water ran out and toilets
overflowed. Passengers became physically ill, ... [and]
were being exposed to the growing odour of [a] concen-
trated number of humans in an enclosed space ...2 The
crew of flight 992 was uncaring. Each time Sousanis
tried to stand to relieve her chronically pained back, she
was threatened with arrest and told to obey an unrelent-
ing fasten seatbelt sign. Horror stories such as this are
the anecdotal flagship of a legislative fleet of passen-
gers' rights legislation now being considered by the
United States Congress. After discussing the motivation
and contours of the now-pending legislation, this article
briefly examines its practical applications, critiques the
notion that airline service can be maximised through the
generation of new law, and offers suggestions passen-
gers might use to cope with the inconveniences of
modern air travel.

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