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Chicago Tribune article limits tarmac delays to 3 hours

Chicago Tribune article limits tarmac delays to 3 hours

Old Dec 21, 09, 10:32 am
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Chicago Tribune article limits tarmac delays to 3 hours

Sorry if this has already been posted elsewhere. The airlines had their chance to self-regulate this one correctly, now the government steps in and will make their life difficult....

http://www.chicagotribune.com/travel...,0,94627.story
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Old Dec 21, 09, 10:40 am
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Originally Posted by MacDanny View Post
Sorry if this has already been posted elsewhere. The airlines had their chance to self-regulate this one correctly, now the government steps in and will make their life difficult....

http://www.chicagotribune.com/travel...,0,94627.story
The Department of Transportation press release is here:

http://www.dot.gov/affairs/2009/dot19909.htm
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Old Dec 21, 09, 11:31 am
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The airlines brought these regulations on themselves. Congratulations to Kate Hanni amongst others, for working so hard to get this through Washington. Be interesting to see who will be the first airline to fall foul of these passenger friendly regulations.
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Old Dec 21, 09, 11:38 am
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An indication from the article that this new rule at least has some semblance of bipartisanship:

Mary Peters, who was transportation secretary under former President George W. Bush, proposed requiring airlines to have contingency plans for stranded passengers. The idea was that if airlines include these plans in their "contract of carriage" — the fine print on an airline ticket — consumers can hold them responsible in court if they break their promise...

...LaHood has rewritten Peters' proposal, added a firm time-limit and other protections, and made the proposal a final rule...


The DOT press release notes exceptions (my bolding) large enough to taxi a 744 through in certain situations:

The new rule prohibits U.S. airlines operating domestic flights from permitting an aircraft to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours without deplaning passengers, with exceptions allowed only for safety or security or if air traffic control advises the pilot in command that returning to the terminal would disrupt airport operations.
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Old Dec 21, 09, 12:41 pm
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So, 3rd in line for TO, clock ticks over 3 hours, back to the terminal you go.

Yeah, the government is here to help us with heavy-handed, neanderthal-level intelligence regulations - as usual.

Like the huge fines for violations of the 2-bag rule, which is forcing GAs to become bag-Nazis.
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Old Dec 21, 09, 12:44 pm
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Originally Posted by dgwright99 View Post
So, 3rd in line for TO, clock ticks over 3 hours, back to the terminal you go.
I can't help but suspect, based on discussions in FT and elsewhere, that this seemingly popular ukase would have long since been issued if there were no unintended consequences attached to it.

There's also a thread here.

Last edited by Fredd; Dec 21, 09 at 12:48 pm Reason: link to TravelBuzz thread added
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Old Dec 21, 09, 12:52 pm
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Originally Posted by dgwright99 View Post
So, 3rd in line for TO, clock ticks over 3 hours, back to the terminal you go.

Yeah, the government is here to help us with heavy-handed, neanderthal-level intelligence regulations - as usual.

Like the huge fines for violations of the 2-bag rule, which is forcing GAs to become bag-Nazis.
Note this in the Times article, though:

The regulation provides exceptions only for safety or security or if air traffic control advises the pilot in command that returning to the terminal would disrupt airport operations.
(bolding mine)
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Old Dec 21, 09, 1:03 pm
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Originally Posted by N965VJ View Post
Note this in the Times article...
Yes, I quoted from the DOT release a couple of posts up that exceptions will be:

...allowed only for safety or security or if air traffic control advises the pilot in command that returning to the terminal would disrupt airport operations...

It'll be interesting to watch the interpretation of that. I'm still of the mind that a) it's political grandstanding and largely meaningless, or b) the unintended consequences will make the solution as unpalatable as the problem.

Don't get me wrong. I've never been stuck on a plane anywhere near as long as some of these horror stories and I'd be as outraged as anybody.
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Old Dec 21, 09, 2:33 pm
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Somehow I think this will work out such that we'll all be paying higher ticket prices to account for the risk of a lengthy tarmac delay.

Where does Washington think the money for "significant fines" will come from?

Regards,
-tom
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Old Dec 21, 09, 3:03 pm
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Originally Posted by Fredd View Post
An indication from the article that this new rule at least has some semblance of bipartisanship:

Mary Peters, who was transportation secretary under former President George W. Bush, proposed requiring airlines to have contingency plans for stranded passengers. The idea was that if airlines include these plans in their "contract of carriage" — the fine print on an airline ticket — consumers can hold them responsible in court if they break their promise...

...LaHood has rewritten Peters' proposal, added a firm time-limit and other protections, and made the proposal a final rule...


The DOT press release notes exceptions (my bolding) large enough to taxi a 744 through in certain situations:

The new rule prohibits U.S. airlines operating domestic flights from permitting an aircraft to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours without deplaning passengers, with exceptions allowed only for safety or security or if air traffic control advises the pilot in command that returning to the terminal would disrupt airport operations.


These were my sentiments, exactly. They will stretch the loopholes until they snap. They won't close the loopholes until someone dies while trapped on one of these planes. It will be too little, too late then.
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Old Dec 21, 09, 7:43 pm
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Originally Posted by OrlandoFlyer View Post
The airlines brought these regulations on themselves. Congratulations to Kate Hanni amongst others, for working so hard to get this through Washington. Be interesting to see who will be the first airline to fall foul of these passenger friendly regulations.
Exactly. This is big news. LaHood apparently sees the importance of passenger well-being.
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Old Dec 21, 09, 7:53 pm
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Originally Posted by tpeace View Post
Somehow I think this will work out such that we'll all be paying higher ticket prices to account for the risk of a lengthy tarmac delay.

Where does Washington think the money for "significant fines" will come from?
Airlines face significant fines for not taking an aircraft out of service if it needs a repair, or a pilot out of service for exceeding time limits. Both acts delay pax, while the alternative fines are absorbed by ticket prices.

Should the FAA eliminate safety rules?
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Old Dec 21, 09, 11:31 pm
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Originally Posted by svenskaflicka View Post
[/B]

These were my sentiments, exactly. They will stretch the loopholes until they snap. They won't close the loopholes until someone dies while trapped on one of these planes. It will be too little, too late then.
This isn't a loophole, it makes a mockery of the whole issue.

exceptions allowed only for safety or security or if air traffic control advises the pilot in command that returning to the terminal would disrupt airport operations

It's one thing being trapped in a 747 or even an MD-80, but now this is happening in Regional jets that seem narrower than an SUV.
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Old Dec 22, 09, 2:33 pm
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Originally Posted by ralfp View Post
Airlines face significant fines for not taking an aircraft out of service if it needs a repair, or a pilot out of service for exceeding time limits. Both acts delay pax, while the alternative fines are absorbed by ticket prices.

Should the FAA eliminate safety rules?
No, I don't think the FAA eliminate safety rules. In fact safety is the one thing I don't want the airline I'm flying to skimp on, and I'm willing to put up with a lot of other inconveniences.

But I don't think this is a safety issue.

The longest in-plane delay I've ever had to sit thru was 4 and a half hours and it was necessary precisely for safety reasons after two planes made contact while taxi-ing at JFK. It was certainly an unpleasant experience but I don't think I want the airlines racing thru their safety inspections to beat an arbitrary three hour deadline imposed by the FAA.

And getting dumped back in an airport terminal isn't all that appealing to me.

regards
-tom
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Old Dec 22, 09, 5:19 pm
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Originally Posted by tpeace View Post
And getting dumped back in an airport terminal isn't all that appealing to me.
This is the part of the story that no one seems to be picking up on. The flight is going to be canceled. Any passengers will be left to fend for themselves. For some that might be better than arriving 5 hours late. For others it won't. But everyone is now going to be stuck in the terminal, potentially for days if the recent snowstorm cancellations are any indication (and I don't think they are too far off given the incredibly high load factors the airlines are showing these days).

Sure, you're not uncomfortable for 5 hours, but that doesn't mean that you'll actually get to your intended destination in a timely manner nor that you'l be cared for in the terminal.
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