Oberstar: Airline legislation stuck in Senate would've helped trapped passengers


Minnesota Rep. Jim Oberstar says that legislation stalled in the U.S. Senate would've helped the airline passengers that were stuck on the Rochester tarmac for six hours in unacceptable conditions.

On Friday, 47 passengers spent a total of nine hours on a small plane after being rerouted to Rochester due to bad weather conditions. The plane was heading to Minneapolis-St. Paul International from Houston. The passengers were trapped on the plane all night with overflowing toilets, no food, and crying babies.

The U.S. House passed a passenger bill of rights this spring that would place stricter regulations on airlines that could have prevented the situation on the Continental flight. They have passed similar legislation in the past that never made it out of the Senate.

Oberstar, the chair of the House Transportation Committee, urged the Senate to act on the legislation to prevent future problems.

"When enacted it will require airlines and large and medium airport to have emergency contingent plans for tarmac delays, including providing adequate food and water, restroom, cabin ventilation, access to medical treatment," he said, according to Minnesota Public Radio.