The United States Department of Transportation has finally warned airlines: Most people don’t like to go for more than 24 hours without brushing their teeth and changing their underwear.
When will airlines realize that when a flight gets diverted and things go wrong — you just should not force people to stay on an airplane for 11 hours with only a bag of pretzels to eat. What was ExpressJet’s (operator of the Continental flight) excuse? The TSA screeners had gone home for the night, so they couldn’t let anyone get back on the plane if they let them off. Oh no!
The House this week finally passed the Passengers Bill of Rights, ensuring that delayed passengers will have adequate access to food, water, and even restrooms. The ironically delayed piece of consumer legislation has languished for years, but the bill that passed the House still isn’t good enough. Under the House legislation, airlines themselves get to decide what constitutes an “excessive delay,” allowing them to keep stranded passengers on the tarmac for hours. Let’s look at the bill and see what changes need to be made in the Senate…
Even basketball teams get stuck on the tarmac. The Spurs spent the night sleeping on a grounded airplane (that was experiencing mechanical difficulties) after the team beat New Orleans in Game 7. “We slept on the plane — as much as you can sleep,” a team spokesperson said. “We tried to keep some normal semblance of order.” [ESPN]
Get ready to spend nine hours on the tarmac without food or water. Senate Republicans yesterday shoved the Passenger’s Bill of Rights into the chamber’s overhead bin, killing off hope that the bill will pass before the elections. Even worse, the shot-down bill had transformed into a gleaming marvel of consumer protection.
The Passenger’s Bill of Rights returns to the Congressional spotlight late tomorrow afternoon, but the bill isn’t yet strong enough to deserve passage.
Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Great Valentine’s Day Air Travel Massacre—a storm that took down JetBlue’s entire operation and ultimately their CEO, too.
President Bush today proposed several measures intended to reduce traffic issues during the busy holiday season as well as shore up some of the most persistent air travel problems consumers face throughout the year. The most significant proposal would open up a “Thanksgiving express lane” through military airspace, and like the other proposed rules, would require the approval of Congress, says the NYT.
USAToday says that a flight to Phoenix from JFK was stuck on the tarmac for 7 hours on Tuesday.
A report from Transportation Department Inspector General Calvin Scovel III hailed deplaning as a best practice worthy of uniform implementation by all airlines.
The best practices we identified during our review are not all inclusive, and the airlines or airports should consider incorporating them into their ongoing operations, especially the best practice of setting the maximum amount of time that passengers will remain on-board aircraft before deplaning.
- No plans for supplying emergency food and drink
- No time limit for how long passengers are kept on plane
- No plan of how to get passengers off
The Coalition For A Passenger’s Bill of Rights cracks us up. They went to D.C. and erected an airplane-themed tent complete with smelly portable toilets in an attempt to recreate the feel of a real-life tarmac imprisonment.
The House may soon discharge the Passengers Bill of Rights to the floor. The powerful Rules Committee will meet tomorrow to decide which amendments are worthy of floor consideration. Members have until 10 a.m. to file an amendment granting passengers the right to deplane.
The protest’s organizers are planning to build a mock commercial aircraft that has seen its passengers’ patience and infrastructure wear thin after hours of idling. The 28-foot aircraft, really a long grey tent made to look like a plane, will be adorned by sounds of crying babies, sneezing customers and overflowing toilets.
Will July 29, go down in history as airline traveler’s Stonewall? 120 passengers staged a protest aboard Continental Flight 1669 after waiting on the runway for over five hours.
For some reason, JFK stayed open even though no planes could take off in the ice storm. The back up got so bad that the controllers were literally yelling at the JetBlue pilots because the pilots had nowhere to park and were just sitting in the way of incoming planes.
US Airways Cancels 530 Flights, Lets Passengers Sit On Tarmac 6 Hours With Overflowing Toilets, No Water
Burt Cole spent six hours on a plane on the tarmac to find out hours after that his flight was canceled. “On the runway for six hours, with only one engine going, so the air conditioner was only half working,” said Burt. “The toilet started overflowing. They were out of drinks on the airplane. This was U.S. Air. I hope they’re watching.”