Air travelers, here's something to rejoice: The federal Department of Transportation is telling airlines that domestic passengers can only be stranded on tarmacs for three hours.
Under the new regulations, airlines operating domestic flights will be able only to keep passengers on board for three hours before they must be allowed to disembark a delayed flight. The regulation provides exceptions only for safety or security or if air traffic control advises the pilot in command that returning to the terminal would disrupt airport operations. U.S. carriers operating international flights departing from or arriving in the United States must specify, in advance, their own time limits for deplaning passengers.
Airlines will be required to provide food and water for passengers within two hours of a plane being delayed on a tarmac, and to maintain operable lavatories. They must also provide passengers with medical attention when necessary."
Earlier this year, a flight from JFK to Minnesota waited SIX hours until it was cleared for take-off.
NY Assemblyman Michael Gianaris, who authored a Passenger Bill of Rights for air passengers (struck down by a federal court), applauded the measure, “At long last, airlines will be required to treat passengers like human beings instead of cargo. It is outrageous that these regulations are necessary at all, but the nation’s airlines made clear they are more concerned about saving a few bucks than providing basic and necessary services to its customers.”