New Jerseyans are used to air-travel aggravation.
Newark Liberty International Airport had the nation's worst on-time arrival record of any major airport last year and the third worst for getting planes off on-time. New Jersey's smaller airports aren't much better.
A New Jersey lawmaker wants to help passengers battling such frustrations.
Assemblyman Sam Thompson plans to introduce legislation creating a bill of rights for Garden State airline passengers.
"We have seen too many instances in recent months where airlines failed to provide passengers with the basic courtesies and respect that should be extended to any consumer," said Thompson, R-Monmouth. "This legislation will hold airlines accountable for those actions and will force airlines to more carefully attend to the well-being of their passengers."
New York earlier this month became the first state with an airline passenger bill of rights. The measure signed by Gov. Eliot Spitzer requires airlines to provide food, water, clean toilets and fresher air to passengers stuck on tarmacs for more than three hours.
Airlines face fines of $1,000 per passenger for failing to provide the amenities.
New York adopted its law after passengers in February were stranded on JetBlue planes for as long as 11 hours at John F. Kennedy Airport during a storm. JetBlue blamed congestion, frozen equipment and an effort to keep planes ready in case the weather got better.
The federal government has no regulations limiting the time an airline can keep passengers on the tarmac.
Thompson said his proposal would be modeled after New York's law. He said he will introduce it when the Legislature reconvenes after the November elections.
"Ideally airlines would take account for the well-being of their passengers without this government intervention, but we have seen too many cases where they have failed to do so," he said.
The Air Transport Association, which represents most of the nation's major airlines, said it would be premature to comment before it had the chance to review Thompson's bill.
From January to June this year, 56 percent of flights landed and arrived on time at Newark, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
That's down from 63 percent arriving on time last year — the worst figure for any major airport _ and 72 percent taking off on time. Only Chicago O'Hare and Atlanta had worse on-time departure percentages in 2006.
Atlantic City International Airport — served by two commercial carriers — saw 62 percent of its flights arrive on-time from January to June, with the same percentage taking off on-time at the airport, the statistics show.
Trenton-Mercer Airport — also served by two commercial airlines — saw 56 percent of its flights arrive and take off on-time from January to June, the records show.