Transportation Secretary Would Like To Ask Continental A Few Questions

The horrific tarmac delay in Rochester, MN has come to the attention of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. LaHood apparently has a blog, and on it he’s asking some questions about the delay.

LaHood says:

Basically, we want to know what I think all of us want to know:

1. Why the flight was diverted to Rochester, Minnesota, in particular;
2. Which carrier, Continental or Express Jet, was responsible for the well-being of the passengers and, in particular, which carrier’s contingency plan was implemented during the tarmac delay;
3. Whether Continental/ExpressJet had in place at Rochester procedures regarding the deplaning of passengers on diverted flights at diversion airports without TSA presence and if not, why not;
4. Whether such procedures were implemented with respect to flight 2816 and if not, why not;
5. Why flight 2816 was forced to stay on the ground at Rochester for as long as it did; and
6. An explanation of the passenger’s treatment during the delay, including once they were inside the airport terminal.

The letter also asks Continental for similar information about other recent delays.

What will he do with this information?

… DOT has a rulemaking in progress that proposes to require airlines to take certain steps to deal with lengthy tarmac delays, including establishing contingency plans that meet basic passenger needs during a lengthy tarmac delay. Some have proposed that DOT go further and set a time limit for carriers to deplane passengers. While I can’t comment on the merits of the proposed rule yet, we will use the information Continental provides to help us reach a decision about what direction to go in that rulemaking.

Outrage on tarmac delays—you want to know, DOT wants to know [DOT Blog]