They are requesting to be allowed by the DOT to warehouse passengers on the tarmac for over 3 hours, without adequate food, water or even working toilet facilities, and not return to the terminal during the FAA sequester cuts in FAA air traffic controllers or for the next 90 days, whichever is longer.
This hard fought consumer rule was enacted in 2010 and already provides reasonable flexibility for situations involving safety, security or air traffic control orders. The DOT also has enforcement discretion which has resulted so far in no airline being fined anywhere near the maximum of $27,500 per passenger, zero fines for 90% of the cases involving violations of the three hour rule.
The rule has been highly successful, drastically reducing 3+ hour tarmac confinements by up to 98% (from 250,000 passengers per year to a still too high 5,000 per year since 2010), all with no significant adverse effects on airline operations.
Click here to view the Airline’s petition.
FlyersRights.org is making a plea to the public who is already incensed by the sequester and the impact on their air travel, to do the same and document in any visible way their experiences with their flight delays and long on ground tarmac delays.
As of this AM there is 9 public comments against granting the airlines’ suspension request and none for. The DOT needs to see that the public is firmly and massively against the airlines requested suspension of the Three Hour Rule. Please feel free to forward this email to all interested persons.