New rules say passengers can’t be kept waiting on plane for more than 3 hours

Corporations frequently complain about government oversight but the government wouldn’t have to regulate things like this if the airlines didn’t act so damn stupid.  They should know better than to hold passengers for hour after hour on a delayed flight.  One would think that common sense would dictate the airlines regulate this themselves, but obviously not.

My last flight was such a nightmare it will be a long time before I consider flying again.

As for this new regulation, I think 3 hours is still too long.

It’s a common air travel nightmare: A flight is delayed for weather or some other reason, marooning a planeload of passengers on an airport taxiway.

“Everyone is hot, uncomfortable and cramped,” said Andy McCormick of Nashville, who was traveling from Reagan National Airport on Monday and recalled a long tarmac wait on a regional jet. “I remember they couldn’t get the air conditioning going well. They weren’t running beverage service. Everyone was thirsty, hungry and irate.”

On Monday, the federal government promised to change all that.

U.S. Department of Transportation regulators ordered airlines to stop the practice of holding passengers for hours on grounded airplanes. Under the new rules, airlines will have to get travelers in the air within three hours or let them off the plane. Airlines could face fines of as much as $27,500 per passenger for violations.

The new rules also say that airlines must provide adequate food and potable water for passengers within two hours of an aircraft being delayed on the tarmac. Additionally, airlines must maintain “operable lavatories” and provide passengers on delayed aircraft with necessary medical attention. The rules go into effect in about three months, officials said.


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9 Responses to New rules say passengers can’t be kept waiting on plane for more than 3 hours

  1. A few years back there was a big to do about this. I think a woman led a protest about this to get a law passed to shorten the time or there was a lawsuit and I thought I remember reading that the airlines could still take up to five hour.

    I wish could remember how to google that story to see if there is linkage to this new “lower” amount of time.

    I found a link to the story. I think this woman should be mentioned and credited by the media with the new lower wait time. Her story and what she and her fellow passengers went through is interesting.

  2. skyagunsta says:

    Can you imagine the terror anyone suffering from claustrophobia might go through when they are held for 3 or more hours in the stuffy cabin of a stranded plane?

    I get claustrophobic feelings out in the traffic when my husband stops his car too close to the car in front of him and the car in back of us does the same to our car, so that, if we needed to shift lanes for whatever reason, we could not manage to do so do to being trapped in the lane by the car in front of us and the car in back of us.

  3. timesr says:

    I remember Sen. Harry Reid talking about this when I lived in Nevada.

    “Prohibits air carriers or foreign air carriers from preventing, hindering, or failing to assist any passenger from exiting an aircraft (under the same circumstances as any flight crew member may exit) if: (1) the aircraft is parked over an hour past its scheduled departure time at an airport terminal gate with access to ramp or other boarding and deplaning facilities; and (2) the aircraft captain has not been informed by air traffic control authorities that the aircraft can be cleared for departure within 15 minutes.”

    Sage Reply:

    My husband I were talking about this and he said the plane would be going back to the terminal way before 3 hours were up because they would be taking him back to be arrested. Knowing him, there is some truth to that.

    skyagunsta Reply:

    @Sage, i understand where he is coming from.

    Sage Reply:

    Me, too. I would be livid if I were held against my will on a plane for hours. I think anything of a really necessary delay for safety sakes should be illegal detainment.

    Alessandro Machi Reply:


    Ilegal detainment, it’s not just for suspected terrorists anymore!

    Sage Reply:


  4. Wizcon says:

    The longest I ever sat was flying out of Minneapolis to the local airport. In other words the last leg of the trip for everyone on board. We were hoping to get home before airports were closed due to an oncoming snow storm. The hold up was the line for deicing the planes. I think we waited about an hour and a half. I remember getting worried about all the ice on the planes necause I was sitting over the wing. Made it home ok. Last plane in that day.

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