Airliners Fighting and Preparing for Tarmac Delay Fines
On April 29, the Department of Transportation (DOT) tarmac delay rules will take effect and airliners are putting up a stink, while preparing for the roll out of the new regulations.
Inelegantly called “Enhancing Airline Passenger Protection,” the airlines will get whacked with a $2,700 per person fine if they keep passengers on a delayed flight, on the tarmac, for more than 3 hours. They’ll be required to supply stranded passengers with food and water, clean toilets and other cabin comforts.
And the airlines must publish real time info about delayed flights on their web sites.
The airlines are not happy.
Not surprisingly, some have asked DOT for an exemption, notably American Airlines, Delta and Jet Blue, at least as the rule affects airline operations out of New York’s JFK.
So what’s the objection?
We’re sure the airlines will start canceling flights just before the 3 hour deadline, leaving passengers furious and caught in an endless nightmare of flight bottlenecks nationally and internationally.
The travel industry publication,Travel Weekly, quotes economist Darryl Jenkins of airlinezone as saying an average 737 flight with a hundred or so passengers nets the airline several hundreds of dollars in profit.
But faced with a $100,000 fine ($1000 x 100 passengers) why wouldn’t the airline cancel!
Nor are all passengers happy with the rules.
Tarmac-delayed flights will be required to return to the gate…which by then may no longer be available.
And if the aircraft can return to the gate, it then has to go to the back of the queue and start all over again!
This stresses out many passengers, especially the business types.
Everyone wants a passenger bill of right (Technorati March 5, 2010) but the answer lies in improving the airlines’ schedules and routes.
Absolutely, the airlines have to start paying attention to passenger needs, comfort and complaints. But the hefty fine-based "stick" may not be the way to go, or at least it needs a carrot to go along with it.
Do you think the fines are a good idea?