Tarmac delay hall of shame: Delta, American — please take a bow!

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By Christopher Elliott

So you think that after criticizing the tarmac troopers recently, I’ll lay off my monthly series on the tarmac delay hall of shame?

I’m sorry to disappoint you.

The latest losers were released this morning by our friends over at the Department of Transportation. They’re for the month of September.

Only two flights had ground delays that exceeded four hours.

Delta Air Lines flight 1015 from Philadelphia to Atlanta, 9/21/09 – delayed on tarmac 275 minutes

American Airlines flight 1672 from Dallas/Fort Worth to Tulsa, Ok, 9/21/09 – delayed on tarmac 267 minutes

That is just way too long. You don’t need me to tell you that.

If you make it three hours, you see the players don’t change at all. It’s still Delta and American. (Here’s what you need to do if your flight gets delayed or canceled.)

I haven’t asked DOT about the reasons for the delays — were they mechanical or weather-related? — Oumbut my sense is that since they occurred on the same day, they may have been weather-related.

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(FlightAware.com suggests both the American and Delta were delayed because of the weather.)

Would a ‘Passenger Bill of Rights’ have made a difference in tarmac delay situations?

Maybe Delta and American would be looking at some fines, but the passengers would have been just as stranded for more than four hours. And I’m not sure they would have received any kind of compensation, under the proposed law.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in Panamá City.

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