The Three Hour Rule on the Tarmac – Ridiculous

The latest in air travel, beginning today airlines can no longer keep passengers on the tarmac for over three hours or they will be subject to a $27,500 per passenger fine (international flights are exempt).  Per the Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, the airlines are up in arms and many have asked for exemptions threatening that more flights will soon end up being cancelled or even further delayed. I am sorry, this is ridiculous!

First of all I think it is pathetic that it has come to this; a government butting in to how a commercial airline runs its business and a commercial airline needing a government to impose such a ridiculous rule to help run its business.

Secondly, who gets these fines? The passengers who suffered through the ridiculously long wait? The mood would definitely improve at airports; passengers would probably start using stop watches and happily wait….hoping the airline screws up. Who am I kidding, of course the blood sucking government, finding yet another way to fill its coiffeur, will be cashing in on the fines.

Thirdly, where has the airlines common sense gone?  Being a tall individual who can barely last on short trips that actually depart on time; how can the airlines really believe subjecting a passenger to over a three hour wait is appropriate behavior?  Let alone all night, an extremely abusive example that happened on an ExpressJet flight in Rochester, Minnesota last August.

Last year, per government statistics, 903 flights were guilty of keeping passengers on the tarmac for over three hours, really a relatively small percentage when considering the total number of domestic flights that probably occurred in 2009.  Regardless, rather than imposing fines, asking for exemptions or threatening cancellations shouldn’t the airports, the airlines and the government (since they feel they must be involved) work on the cause of the problem instead? Shape up!!!!

By the way, all the more reason to use a carry-on, so your belongings remain with you no matter where you end up!



Margaret has lived, studied and worked in Rome, Italy and Paris, France; she has also traveled extensively throughout Europe, the United Kingdom, Africa and North America. Margaret currently resides with her husband and two sons in downtown Chicago.

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2 Responses

  1. MarkSpizer says:

    great post as usual!

  2. Lean Stallsworth says:

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