What do you Think of the New Airline Tarmac Rules?
Remember back when some poor passengers were stuck on the tarmac in an airliner for umpteen hours, with no bathrooms, no water, screaming children, and were prohibited from deplaning?
On April 29th, the Department of Transportation’s final rule in this matter goes into effect.
Here’s a summary:
“The Department of Transportation is issuing a final rule to enhance airline passenger protections in the following ways: By requiring air carriers to adopt contingency plans for lengthy tarmac delays and to publish those plans on their Web sites; by requiring air carriers to respond to consumer problems; by deeming continued delays on a flight that is chronically late to be unfair and deceptive in violation of 49 U.S.C. 41712; by requiring air carriers to publish information on flight delays on their Web sites; and by requiring air carriers to adopt customer service plans, to publish those plans on their Web sites, and audit their own compliance with their plans.”
Here are a few of the minimum rules that airlines must follow:
- they can’t keep you on the tarmac for more than three hours
- the three hour rule does not apply to international flights, but the airline must disclose its own “set number of hours” before releasing international travelers
- they must have available “adequate” food and water no later than after two hours of sitting on the tarmac
- they must assure operable bathrooms, as well as adequate medical attention
- they must assure sufficient resources to implement these plans, and have them coordinated with airport authorities
Penalties are $27,500/passenger, which can mean over $3,000,00/plane for non-compliance.
There’s a lot of hubbub over these new rules with many wondering if this will cause more weather related flight cancellations, and furthermore, what is a passenger to do when your airline dumps you back in the terminal before the three hour deadline hits.