Congress is in the final throes of negotiating the FAA Reauthorization Bill. Part of the proposed law contains several controversial consumer provisions. One of the most debated concerns is whether to make the current Department of Transportation (DOT) regulation that limits an airplane’s time on the runway to a maximum of three-hours a law that can only be changed by Congress.
Read more “Weekend poll: Do we really need a new tarmac-delay law?”
Did the federal government just kill tarmac delays?
You could be forgiven for thinking so after reading this morning’s news release from the Transportation Department, which declared that for the first time since it began keeping records on tarmac delays, it recorded no delays of more than three hours in October. That’s down from 11 flights in Oct. 2009.
There’s no word on delays of less than three hours, although it seems our attention is likely to focus on them soon.
I’ll skip the Ray LaHood soundbite. Needless to say, the DOT is pleased with itself.
But did it just kill tarmac delays? I wouldn’t be so sure.
Read more “Tarmac delays, R.I.P.? Don’t bet on it”
That’s a question a lot of airline observers may be asking themselves after today’s DOT report (PDF) that there was just one tarmac delay exceeding three hours in August 2010.
And look at this chart (above). What point is reporting this data to the flying public when there’s no meaningful data to report?
The Transportation Department is doing a well-deserved victory lap on tarmac delays. In today’s news release, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood summed up his department’s reasons to celebrate:
These numbers show that the tarmac delay rule is protecting passengers from being trapped indefinitely aboard an airplane – with little or no increase in canceled flights.
Also, it shows that the hard work the airlines are putting into implementing the rule is paying off. With the summer travel season behind us, it appears that the rule is working as planned.
Read more “Now that the tarmac delay rule is “working as planned” should the government shorten the leash?”
Our friends at the Transportation Department have unleashed a blizzard of airline rule changes on us this morning. They’re being characterized as an early Christmas present for air travelers — particularly those with lengthy tarmac delays. And the government is not done yet.
But read the actual rule, and the DOT’s nuanced discussion of its final rulemaking (PDF), and a different picture emerges.
(A lot of people have asked me what I think of the changes. They’re fine. But I’d be naive to believe these revisions will improve the air travel experience for a majority of us. Like the “passenger rights” movement itself, this only helps a small fraction of special-interest air travelers. The airline industry and I are kind of in agreement when it comes to the issue of tarmac delays.)
Here are the big changes:
Read more “New airline rules address tarmac delays, retroactive contract changes, disclosures”
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.
Read more “Tarmac delay hall of shame: Delta, American — please take a bow!”
The approach of cold-weather season reminds me of tarmac delays.
Like the Northwest Airlines flights grounded during a 1999 blizzard at Detroit’s Metro Airport, leaving passengers without water or working toilets for more than seven hours. Or the JetBlue Airways customers stranded for nearly half a day during an ice storm in New York back in 2007.
But what if those were the only memories that cold weather evoked?
No skiing. No eggnog. No chestnuts roasting on the open fire. That would be absurd, wouldn’t it?
No more absurd than what has happened to the “passenger rights movement.” In the past few months, a series of headline-grabbing tarmac delays has helped a couple of influential lobbyists convince the media and a few elected officials that tarmac delays are the No. 1 passenger rights problem in America.
Read more “Tarmac delays ground the fight for passenger rights”