Better World Club

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Department of Transportation Gives Travelers an Early Christmas Present

Consumer Advocates Succeed in Limiting Tarmac Waits to 3 Hours

On December 21, the Department of Transportation responded to pressure from consumer advocates and ordered airlines to allow passengers on delayed flights to deplane after three hours.

Kate Hanni, founder and president of made this statement:

“This is indeed a wonderful holiday gift and a major victory for any airline passenger who has ever been subjected to an unnecessary tarmac delay and has endured endless hours without food, water or adequate toilet facilities. has fought for legislation in Congress to limit these delays, yet the bill has languished in the Senate despite bipartisan support. We applaud the Obama Administration and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for stepping up to the plate and telling the airline industry, and Congress, that ‘enough is enough’.”

Prior efforts by groups like to limit tarmac waits have been stymied by industry resistance. New regulations apply to all domestic flights and take effect 120 days from their announcement.

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  • As a 25+ year airline pilot, the new "three hour" rule can have it's downside too. I have had situations where due to weather problems (i.e. thunderstorms) during taxi out for take-off, we have had people on the airplane for nearly three hours. Then the weather moves off and we go.

    Now, I will have to say "Sorry folks, we are number two for takeoff but the clock says you have been on the airplane for more than three hours so we are going to have to go back to the gate for your comfort. By the way, this flight will probably be cancelled and the agents will have to rebook you on a flight tomorrow or the next day."

    Oh and one more thing. The media and public keeps on talking about "tarmac" delays. Sorry, but in the real world of airline pilots, we never use the word "tarmac". Ramp, holding area, penalty box, yes, but never tarmac.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, At December 28, 2009 at 6:28 AM  

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