Still, Wagner said that "the extremity of their experience was a mistake, and we've apologized for that." He said the airline has tweaked some policies and re-emphasized others in an attempt to avoid repeating the situation.
Some of the affected passengers said the airline responded only after the story was featured in the national press. And they say they haven't seen any indication that American is working to prevent future problems.
"There hasn't been any attempt to contact us; they haven't said anything," said Andy Welch of Lynn Creek, Mo., who was also on Flight 1348. "It infuriates me. How can anyone think they can run a business this way?"
An attempt was made in 2000 to pass a similar slate of protections for traveling consumers, and the idea was revived in 2002. Neither attempt resulted in a law being passed.
This time, however, Hanni is hopeful that the issue will have traction in Washington, D.C., particularly as lawmakers consider the impact that mergers could have on the industry.
"I believe we're reached the tipping point," she said. "The only thing that will change this is action from our elected officials."
PASSENGERS BILL OF RIGHTS: A group of travelers who were stranded on the tarmac for up to 10 hours last month have proposed a slate of protections for travelers. Their recommendations include:
--Establishing procedures for airlines to return passengers to a terminal gate after three hours on the tarmac.
--Requiring airlines to respond to complaints within 24 hours and resolve them within two weeks.
--Forcing airlines to publish a list of chronically delayed flights online.
--Compensation for bumped passengers or passengers whose flights are delayed by more than 12 hours at 150 percent of the ticket price.
--Compensation for passengers whose baggage is lost or mishandled.
The proposed Passengers Bill of Rights would require airlines to return passengers to terminal gates after three hours on the tarmac.
Because airlines are operating with nearly full flights, it is more difficult to rebook passengers who get delayed or stranded.
There are developments on three fronts on behalf of consumers who feel antagonized for what they consider intolerable periods of time stuck for hours in airplanes.