Today the Transportation Department announced a new rule aimed to avoid nightmares on the tarmac from occurring again: U.S. airlines must allow passengers to deplane from domestic flights after a plane has remained on the tarmac for 3 hours.
In addition carriers are required to provide adequate food and potable drinking water for passengers within two hours of the aircraft being delayed on the tarmac and to maintain operable lavatories and, if necessary, provide medical attention.
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. In one of the most recent tarmac delay incidents, 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, MN.
The rule goes into effect 120 days after date of publication in the Federal Register.
This is very good news for passengers!