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Airline Passenger Rights

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The problems passengers encountered recently with Jet Blue and a number of other high-profile airlines underscore the need for greater passenger rights.

No air traveler should be held captive without adequate water, food and restroom facilities, as some essentially were, for hours on end. Nor should they be unnecessarily stranded in strange cities, as also occurred during the bad weather that paralyzed air travel throughout much of the nation earlier this month. Sometimes unexplained disruptions occur even when the weather is good. And there are always horror stories about cancelled or overbooked flights.

To help remedy the problem, KSL prefers the approach of Jet Blue to that of direct involvement by Uncle Sam.

It was refreshing to see CEO David Neeleman vocally and publicly acknowledge Jet Blue's mistakes. He spoke of being "humiliated and mortified" by what happened. Then he set the wheels in motion to correct the problems.

The airline has established its own "Customer Bill of Rights." Among other things, travel vouchers will be given for delays. And he announced the program will be retroactive, which will cost his airline as much as $30 million.

KSL hopes other airlines take note and respond in similar market-driven fashion. Better that approach than Uncle Sam summarily coming up with a host of new federal regulations.

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