Opinion piece on new ‘tarmac fine’

Apr 29


Beginning next month, airlines can be fined up to
$27,500 per passenger if a plane is delayed three hours and passengers can’t get
off the plane, according to a new federal rule issued by the U.S. Department of


Airlines may respond by canceling flights, but the
goal of the program is to encourage airlines to do a better job of scheduling
flights and crews — and, by extension, a better job of treating


Delta Airlines and JetBlue Airways have
already asked the U.S. DOT for a temporary exemption from the rule at airports
like JFK and PHL but have been turned down.


The rule is long overdue. The goal is to limit
tarmac delays and encourage airlines to think more-realistically regarding
flight schedules.


Further, most certainly the new rule is designed to
eliminate the tarmac fiascoes of the past — in which a passenger boards a
plane, and for weather or other non-security reasons, passengers are not allowed
to de-plane and you’re sitting on the tarmac for the better part of a day. The
new rule will hopefully discourage that: figure fining airlines $1 million or $2
million for a flight should get their attention!

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