- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
Airlines told to limit plane’s time on tarmac
Question of the Day
Airline passengers will have the right to food, water and working toilets when a plane is stuck on the tarmac and can return to the terminal after a three-hour delay under new regulations announced by the Obama administration.
The final rule, published Monday in the Federal Register, applies only to domestic flights, and imposes a fine of $27,500 per passenger for airlines failing to follow the new guidelines that take effect in 120 days.
“Airline passengers have rights, and these new rules will require airlines to live up to their obligation to treat their customers fairly,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.
There are exceptions in the new rule: The airplane can stay on course for takeoff if a diversion interferes with the safety of the flight or would disrupt airport operations.
James C. May, president and CEO of Air Transport Association of America, an industry trade organization, said lengthy tarmac delays were never a benefit for airlines, but that the new rules will not benefit passengers.
“We will comply with the new rule even though we believe it will lead to unintended consequences, more cancelled flights and greater passenger inconvenience,” Mr. May said.
“In particular, the requirement of having planes return to the gates within a three hour window or face significant fines is inconsistent with our goal of completing as many flights as possible,” Mr. May said.
Kate Hanni, a Napa Valley, Calif., resident whose family was stranded on a runway for nine hours on Dec. 29, 2006, launched FlyersRights.org, a consumer group to lobby for a passengers bill of rights. She said Monday that her ideas are essentially what the Transportation Department has enacted.
“This is precedent setting,” Mrs. Hanni said in an interview with The Washington Times. “It’s a great day for airline passengers,” she declared, noting that the announcement came just days before Christmas.
“I never thought in my wildest dreams it would get announced today,” she said.
However, Mrs. Hanni said, the group will lobby for the fees collected by the government to go to passengers instead.
“It should go to the passengers. It’s their time that has been spent on the tarmac, missing weddings, births, funerals; passengers are the ones who suffer,” Mrs. Hanni said.
The rule was adopted in response to a series of incidents in which passengers were stranded on the ground aboard aircraft for lengthy periods and also in response to the high incidence of flight delays and other consumer problems, the Transportation Department said.
In one of the more recent tarmac delays, the department fined Continental Airlines, ExpressJet Airlines and Mesaba Airlines a total of $175,000 for their roles in a nearly six-hour ground delay at Rochester, Minn.
The rules prompted praise on Capitol Hill by lawmakers who have been pushing legislation that would enact a passenger bill of rights.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, said such legislation is still needed because a future administration could overturn the rules.
“As good as this rule is, it doesn’t give passengers permanent protection,” Mrs. Boxer said.
Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, Maine Republican who co-authored such a bill with Mrs. Boxer, said the administration’s action is “a strong step forward towards protecting the rights of the flying public.”
About the Author
this is a bio
- Flight security stiffened after failed plot
- Alleged terrorist charged with attempt to explode plane
- Airlines told to limit plane's time on tarmac
- Government imposes 3-hour limit on tarmac strandings
- Millions spent on security retreats
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Michael Widlanski
Leveling the battlefield to aid terrorists enables evil to fight on
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- Obama's empty tough-talk: Gun prosecutions plummet on his watch
- SOWELL:Bordering on immigration madness
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- Presidents of Honduras, Guatemala blame U.S. for border children crisis
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq