Once again Continental Airlines has demonstrated that passengers are unimportant. Last Friday Continental/Express Jet left passengers stuck on a plane overnight. Inclement weather forced flight 2816 from Houston to Minneapolis/St. Paul to land in Rochester, Minnesota. Passengers were only offered one drink, no food and a broken bathroom. Ironically, less than 50 yards away was a terminal with all food and bathrooms. However Continental refused to allow passengers off. The Continental’s excuse or rather lie was that passengers could not exit the plane because TSA screeners had left for the evening. Passengers were finally allowed off the plane around 6 am but were only given a drink voucher.
Personally, I am not surprised Continental Airlines and their partner Express Jet did this. After all, Continental is the same airline that set my luggage on fire and failed to take responsibility. In our case we were told that the airlines policy did not cover luggage because it was too costly to reimburse passengers. Continental is obviously an airline that only cares about the bottom line not the passengers. The paying passengers were only given lies and excuses. First, Continental claimed that it was legal for passengers to disembarked because TSA was gone for the evening. Anyone who has had a connecting flight knows that it is not necessary to go through security again if one does not leave the secure area. Airport officials in Rochester confirmed that passengers could have been allowed into the secure area of the airport. However that might have required Continental to actually go out of their way to help their customers.
Ok, I understand the weather problems but contingency plans should have been made. Diverting the flight due to weather is probably the only thing Continental/Express Jet got right.
Continental claims that the crew had reached their flight limit and had to wait for a new crew to come. If that is the case they could have at least either fixed the bathroom on the plane or had a new plane come. Of course, that would have cost money. Clearly Continental wishes to spend as little money as possible on passengers.
The airlines also claims that attempts were made to find a bus to take passengers to Minneapolis. Continental may have actually tried to call a bus company. When that did not work out the flight had less than 50 passengers, why didn’t they rent vans or something else.
While I personally want as little government involvement in my daily life apparently it is time for a “passengers bill of rights” to be made into law. There are greedy companies like Continental Airlines that only care about their bottom line that must be forced to do the right thing. It really seems ridiculous that it is necessary for law to require airlines to provide basic services/needs for customers.