Fear of Not Flying

Maybe you recall the name Kate Hanni -- she was among those stuck on the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport tarmac for some 13 hours in December 2006 after her Oakland-to-Dallas American Airlines flight was diverted due to weather. Hanni and at least one other woman have sued the Fort Worth-based carrier, claiming, among other things, "emotional distress" and "false imprisonment" when they received no food or drink on the stalled flight and when the bathrooms went to the wrong side of funky.

Turns out, Hanni has taken her cause from the courtroom to the Interwebs: She's behind The Coalition for an Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights, where folks can push for legislation and post their horror stories. Turns out, she's getting somewhere too: California Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, is pushing for an Airline Passenger Bill of Rights, which he introduced yesterday. In the proposed legislation, he would require airlines "to provide basic amenities for passengers -- including water, snacks, fresh air, sanitary restrooms and lights -- if their airplane is delayed on a tarmac in California for more than three hours," according to the San Francisco Chronicle this morning. Sanitary restrooms -- the man sure does ask for a lot. --Robert Wilonsky

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