This perturbed passenger pens ideal flight rights

February 22, 2007|By Kevin Cowherd | Kevin Cowherd,Sun Columnist

The JetBlue fiasco of last week, where passengers were trapped in planes on icy runways for up to 10 hours, has prompted new calls for an air travelers' "Bill of Rights."

Speaking for aggravated passengers everywhere -- look, I sat next to a baby who wailed from Baltimore to Chicago on a recent flight -- here's what such a bill should look like:

If a flight sits on the runway for more than two hours without taking off, the pilot shall be required to walk up and down the cabin so that each passenger can cuff him upside the head and snarl: "What in God's name are you people doing up there?!"

If a flight sits on the runway for more than four hours without taking off, the pilot and co-pilot shall be required to walk up and down the cabin and listen to each passenger scream: "This has been the worst experience of my life!"

If a flight sits on the runway for more than eight hours without taking off, medical personnel shall board the airliner and -- stepping past the overflowing toilets and passengers who have passed out in the aisles from the lack of air, food and water -- administer anti-psychotic drugs to anyone who is conscious.

No passenger shall suffer a wailing baby on any flight. If the baby continues to wail, the baby's parents will be identified by the flight crew and asked to stand, so that other passengers may yell: "Will you please shut that kid up!"

Neither shall any passenger suffer an infant who stares incessantly at him or her. If the staring continues, passenger shall have the right to say to the baby's parents: "Your kid is creeping me out -- make him stop."

A passenger's luggage shall be carelessly tossed around by an airline's baggage handlers no more than 15 times per flight, instead of the 20 to 30 times currently required.

Passengers shall have the right to free pillows and blankets, and these will no longer have the thickness of the ones provided to Devil's Island prisoners in Papillon.

If a passenger should become comatose after reading the in-flight magazine and articles titled "Visit the Milwaukee Cheese Festival!" or "Recent Renovations at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport!" every effort shall be made to revive him or her, including the banging of a large gong.

If a passenger is assigned the middle seat between two perspiring, 300-pound insurance salesmen on a flight that is booked solid, that passenger may request to travel legally in the airliner's cargo hold.

Recognizing that well over half of the American population is considered obese or overweight, passengers shall no longer be required to sit in seats designed for the Smurfs.

When beverage cart service is provided, flight attendants who hand out Diet Coke and peanuts shall no longer act as if they're doing passengers a big favor and serving champagne and filet mignon.

If a flight experiences major turbulence and suddenly drops 200 feet, the pilot shall be forbidden to get on the intercom and, in a nonchalant voice with a slight Southern lilt, announce: "Folks, you might have noticed it's a little bumpy. ..."

Upon disembarking, passengers shall be subjected to no more than two smiling flight crew members lining up in the front of the plane and droning hypnotically: "Thanks for flying with us, have a nice day ... Thanks for flying with us, have a nice day ..."

If a disembarking passenger has missed his or her connecting flight, he or she shall be permitted to grab the droning flight crew member by the lapels and shriek: "What's so #$%&* nice about it?!"

Passengers who have just landed shall be told immediately which baggage carousel to report to, so they can begin the requisite 40-minute wait to learn their luggage has been lost.

Angry passengers reporting lost luggage to airline reps in the tiny airless office typically used for such complaints shall be met with shoulder shrugs and barely concealed smirks not to exceed 15 seconds in duration.

When irate passengers reporting pricey lost luggage are given a voucher for a $15 dinner at The Olive Garden for their trouble, they shall be immune to criminal prosecution if they attempt to leap over the counter and strangle the airline rep.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.