Long Tarmac Delays Down to Zero in October
In October of last year, there were 11 tarmac delays of three-plus hours.
Tarmac delays occur either after the plane has pushed back from the gate but cannot be cleared for takeoff, or after the plane has landed and can't obtain a gate to offload passengers.
After several highly publicized incidents in which passengers were held on aircraft for eight for eight or more hours with backed-up toilets and little food or water, the Transportation Department wrote a new rule requiring airlines to allow passengers to get off planes that are held for three hours.
The rule went into effect April 29, and has its critics: Some airline pundits have predicted huge increases in flight cancellations as airlines seek to avoid hefty fines.
Carriers face fines of up to $27,500 for every passenger held on the tarmac for longer than three hours. There is no government penalty for canceling a flight.
But for October, the bureau also reported that airlines canceled only 0.97% of their scheduled domestic flights, slightly down from the 0.99% rate in October 2009.
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Photo, acaben, flickr