New tarmac delay contingency plans — what’s in it for you?

There may be reason why the first order of business in the Transportation Department’s new rulemaking on passenger rights addresses the problem of tarmac delays. These rare but completely needless ground delays have been a political hotbutton, leading to previous action by the department that effectively bans airlines from keeping passengers parked on a taxiway for more than three hours.

Tarmac delay hall of shame: US Airways loses in latest month

Unlike some of my esteemed travel writing colleagues, I won’t make the mistake of confusing a few tarmac delay activists with the entire passenger rights movement. Still, the August airline performance numbers, which have just been released by our friends at the Department of Transportation, merit a closer look.

Transportation Department shifts blame in tarmac incident to Mesaba

This is an interesting twist. Remember the Continental/ExpressJet tarmac incident earlier this month? Everyone was quick to blame the airline for holding passengers overnight against their will. Now, a preliminary investigation by the Transportation Department has found that Mesaba, a regional carrier owned by Delta Air Lines, was the likely culprit.

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