Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fed-up fliers ready for rights

By Jessica Ravitz

(CNN) -- Claustrophobia was not a condition Bill Johnson understood.

That changed on August 8 when he and his new bride, while returning from their honeymoon, found themselves among the 47 airplane passengers left trapped overnight on a tarmac in Rochester, Minnesota.

As the hours -- going on six of them -- passed, he said the air in the ExpressJet for Continental Airlines cabin grew rank. The two babies on board cried. The toilet filled and stopped flushing. No food was served and the puddle-jumper seats made sleep, for him, impossible. All the while, the airport was visible from the plane.

"I wanted to freak out and kick the windows out," said Johnson, 35, of Minneapolis, Minnesota. "I was just trying to keep my cool."

The much-publicized story of Flight 2816, diverted to Rochester because of bad weather while en route to Minneapolis from Houston, Texas, has brought to the forefront a growing demand to institute passenger rights.




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