A federal appeals court has thrown out, and properly so, a New York state law requiring airlines to accord decent treatment to passengers trapped on their planes for long periods of time.

The law was passed after a 2007 Valentine’s Day storm trapped thousands of passengers on board airliners parked on runways at JFK International for up to 10 hours without food, water and functioning toilets.

The airlines argued successfully that allowing the law to stand would potentially subject them to a patchwork of differing state and local laws and that regulating the industry was properly the preserve of the federal government.

That would seem to doom similar laws pending in other states, and if such a law were to stand it would have to be enacted by Congress, where indeed such a measure has been introduced.

However, you would like to think that a service industry, especially one whose customers are, in a sense, held captive in pressurized containers for hours and hours, would not need a law to provide passengers with food, water, fresh air and clean toilets.

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