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AB-1943 Commercial airlines: passenger rights.(2007-2008)

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AB1943:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 02, 2008
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 28, 2008

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2007–2008 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 1943


Introduced  by  Assembly Member Leno, Lieu

February 13, 2008


An act to add Article 2 (commencing with Section 5515) to Chapter 9 of Division 2 of the Public Utilities Code, relating to commercial airlines.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1943, as amended, Leno. Commercial airlines: passenger rights.
Existing law requires the Public Utilities Commission to require every commercial air operator, as defined, to procure, and continue in effect, adequate protection against liability for personal bodily injuries and property damage as a result of an accident, that may be imposed by law upon the operator and upon any person using, operating, or renting an aircraft, as defined, with the permission of the operator.
This bill would require, whenever passengers have boarded an aircraft, as defined, and departure of the aircraft from the airport, as defined, is delayed by more than 3 hours, or more than 3 hours have passed following landing of the aircraft and passengers have not disembarked from the aircraft, that the air carrier, as defined, provide passengers, as needed, with (1) electrical service that is sufficient to provide the passengers with fresh air and light, (2) waste removal service in order to service the holding tanks for onboard restrooms, and (3) adequate food and drinking water and other refreshment.
This bill would require an air carrier to provide clear and conspicuous notice regarding passenger or consumer complaint contact information.

Existing law, the Unfair Competition Law, prohibits unfair competition, as defined, and provides various remedies, including civil penalties, restitution, and injunctive relief in an action brought pursuant to the Unfair Competition Law.

This bill would authorize the bringing of an action, pursuant to the Unfair Competition Law, for a violation of the requirements of the bill and would provide that in an action brought by the Attorney General, a district attorney, or other governmental representative in the name of the people to enforce these provisions, the air carrier would have the burden of proof to establish compliance with the bill’s requirements.

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YESNO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Article 2 (commencing with Section 5515) is added to Chapter 9 of Division 2 of the Public Utilities Code, to read:
Article  2. Airline Passenger Rights

5515.
 As used in this article, the following terms have the following meanings:
(a) “Air carrier” means an air carrier providing transportation of passengers by aircraft as a common carrier certificated by the Secretary of Transportation under Section 41102 of, or operating under an exemption granted by the Secretary of Transportation pursuant to Section 41101 of, Title 49 of the United States Code.
(b) “Aircraft” means an aircraft as defined in Section 40102 of Title 49 of the United States Code.
(c) “Airport” means an air carrier airport as defined in Section 47102 of Title 49 of the United States Code.

5516.
 Whenever passengers have boarded an aircraft and departure of the aircraft from the airport is delayed by more than three hours, or whenever more than three hours have passed following landing of the aircraft, and passengers have not disembarked from the aircraft, an air carrier shall provide passengers, as needed, with all of the following:
(a) Electrical service that is sufficient to provide the passengers with fresh air and light.
(b) Waste removal service in order to service the holding tanks for onboard restrooms.
(c) Adequate food and drinking water and other refreshment.

5517.
 (a) An air carrier shall provide clear and conspicuous notice regarding passenger or consumer complaint contact information by providing forms and placing signs at all airport service desks and other appropriate areas in the airport as necessary.
(b) The notice shall include, but need not be limited to, both of the following:
(1) The telephone number and mailing address of the employee or officer of the air carrier in charge of consumer complaints and the telephone number and mailing address of the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings of the United States Department of Transportation.
(2) An explanation of the rights of airline passengers.

5518.

(a)An action for violation of this article may be brought pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 17200) of Part 2 of Division 7 of the Business and Professions Code.

(b)In any civil action brought in the name of the people by the Attorney General, a district attorney, or other governmental representative pursuant to Section 17204 or 17204.5 of the Business and Professions Code, the air carrier shall have the burden of proof with respect to establishing compliance with the provisions of this article.

SEC. 2.

 The provisions of this act are severable. If any provision of this act or its application is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.