What do you Think of the New Airline Tarmac Rules?
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.