This is a very good article from John Dean, who was President Nixon's lead counsel. It discusses how as a passenger on an airplane, your rights are non-existent. There are stories, including one from Mr. Dean personally, of people being detained on these airplanes for hours (in one case, it was a 9-hour wait). There's no requirement for these airlines to provide waste service, food and beverages, or electricity. There are groups filing suit in courts and calling for a passengers' bill of rights. So far, this has met with resistance by Republican courts, who'll always side with big business. Another factor is 9/11. Prior to that day, Congress was holding hearings on this very issue.
The number of people involved in these incidents who have actually voiced their complaints publicly or have sued has been very few, surprising considering that there are probably thousands out there. I have been on a few flights, after 9/11, and I'm very thankful that I've never had to go through that kind of experience. I really don't understand how, when these people are being detained, they can just sit there and at best, complain about it. Having to sit in that kind of suffocating atmosphere, bunched up with people, I'd go nuts. I really don't know how these people could have endured.