It does sound like a pretty awful travel experience: stranded on the runway for over 8 hours unable to leave the plane, surrounded by overflowing toilets and a combination of body odor and "human excrement".
Two American Airlines passengers have filed lawsuits after they were forced to sit in the plane on the runway for hours due to a "major weather event".
While no one can fault airlines for bad weather, the issue seems to be the way it was handled. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for false imprisonment, fraud, and negligence.
The lawsuits may have already accomplished their greatest aim: They have brought issues of bad customer service at the nation's airports into the forefront.
One of the stranded flyers suing, Kate Hanni, has started her own group, the Coalition for an Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights to lobby Congress for a passengers' bill of rights, and collect horror stories from disgruntled travelers.
Photo from Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=344683989&size=o