New Airline Rules Regarding Delays

Last modified on March 17th, 2010

For those of you who haven’t been following along, there are some new airline rules going into affect regarding delays that force aircrafts to sit on the tarmac. There have been many documented cases of passengers being stuck on the tarmac for extended lengths of time, often without any food or water, while waiting for clearance to depart. A recent example involves Virgin America and a plane that was on the tarmac (loaded with passengers) for nearly 4 and a half hours.

The solution to this problem, in the eyes of the FAA, is the impose fines on the airlines in the amount of $27,500 per passenger if a place is on the tarmac for more than three hours.

But if the delay had occurred a few weeks later later, Virgin America might have faced more than $3 million in fines for staying on the tarmac for more than three hours.

Under the rule, which takes effect April 29, airlines could be fined up to $27,500 per passenger for tarmac delays lasting more than three hours.

While I obviously think limiting the time the aircraft spend on the tarmac is a good idea, I really don’t understand why there is a fine. I mean, the people who are really inconvenienced by this are the passengers, not the FAA or any of the powers that be. Really, they should be giving that money directly to the passengers who were affected. Even three hours on a stuffy plane full of crying babies would be hell.