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Empty airplane awaits passengers - 

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SCOTT JAGOW: People sitting on airplanes for hours. Lost luggage. Long lines. All the complaints with airline service have finally gotten the attention of Congress. Today, the Senate holds a hearing on things the government might do to help out. Ashley Milne-Tyte has more.


ASHLEY MILNE-TYTE: One bill under consideration would give passengers the right to leave a plane once they'd been stuck there for three hours.

Joe Brancatelli is publisher of business travel website JoeSentMe.com. He says such laws would ultimately prove useless, because airlines would wriggle out of compliance through safety loopholes.

Still, he says, there's plenty legislators could do.

JOE BRANCATELLI: How about we start with something really simple? You will not be allowed to fly more flights into and out of an airport than an airport can handle. Right now this country is overscheduled by 20 or 25 percent.

Add bad weather to that glut of arrivals and departures, and you've got major service problems.

Meanwhile, Brancatelli says, new laws aren't going to stave off a bad summer. The number of flyers will be back to pre-9/11 levels, but, he says, because of layoffs there are now 100,000 fewer airline staff to help them out.

In New York, I'm Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.