Organization Says Pax Were Held Seven Hours Without Toilets,
The Coalition for a Passengers’ Bill of Rights (CAPBOR)
tells ANN the experiences of those onboard a recent Continental
Airlines flight shows why such a bill is needed.
On July 29, 2007, passengers aboard Continental Airlines flight
1669Y, scheduled to land at Newark Airport approximately four hours
after departing from Caracas, Venezuela, was re-directed into
Baltimore, MD due to weather conditions. The Coalition says
passengers were forced to remain on board the aircraft for seven
hours without water, food and proper toilet facilities. Those
onboard included a diabetic, a pregnant woman and three wheelchair
"The horrible conditions flight 1669Y passengers were forced to
endure are unacceptable yet alarmingly becoming all too common,"
said Kate Hanni, CAPBOR Founder and Executive Director. "This is
just another case in point to add to the many instances of
commercial airlines’ unjustifiable violations of
passengers’ personal rights. If Congress does not respond
with strong and swift legislation implementing a universal
passengers’ bill of rights, we will continue to see such
unimaginable circumstances, such as this."
Hanni tells ANN that during their seven-hour ordeal, passengers
aboard Flight 1669Y described deplorable scenes in which toilets
were clogged and completely unsanitary. When passengers were
finally given a chance to disembark, no assistance was given to any
of the passengers with disabilities or special needs.
In a letter to Continental Airlines, passengers of Flight 1669Y
expressed their anger and frustration at the carrier for what they
describe as "apathy and utter disregard" towards the flying
"Needless to say, the experience was a completely appalling and
shameful," wrote passenger Caroline Murray, in a letter signed by
72 others onboard the flight. "There is absolutely no excuse for
what we experienced. While understandably, safety comes first and
you do not control the weather, you should control your employees
and their service level, and should have satisfactory action plans
in place for when this happens.
"What we experienced shows a complete lack of leadership and
customer service management, from your management, captain, and
down to your airport personnel. We expected a much higher level of
service from your company, especially since you presumably pride
yourselves on your level of customer service. Not only did we not
get good service, we were actually insulted and degraded throughout
this experience. To say that we are quite disappointed, even
appalled, would be an understatement."
As ANN reported earlier this
year, Continental suffered another public relations
blow when passengers onboard a June 12 flight from Amsterdam had to
endure seven hours in the air, accompanied by sewage in the cabin.
The airline later said the problem was caused by someone flushing
latex gloves down the lav.
Around the same time, Continental also received recognition by
J.D. Power and Associates for the highest marks in customer
satisfaction among airline passengers, for the second year in a