The miserable March 13 Virgin America flight that kept travellers trapped on a plane for over four hours with little food or water has prompted unprecedented government involvement in protecting airline passengers.Starting April 29 if you’re stuck on a tarmac for more than three hours you can get off the plane. No matter what the stewardesses are yelling at you.
The new rules, officially called Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections, take effect April 29, and in addition to the tarmac policy, require more disclosure about airline delays before a ticket purchase and the publication of delay records and unreliable routes by the airlines.
“Continuing to operate a chronically delayed flight will be considered “an unfair and deceptive practice,” under the new requirements, and subject to regulatory penalties. And airlines will have to publish contact information for consumer complaints on their Web sites and all e-ticket confirmations,” according to The New York Times.
According to data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, there were 196 tarmac delays of three hours or more at Kennedy in 2009 and 713 tarmac delays of two to three hours.
The aim is for the new rules to drastically cut those numbers, but just in case, complaints about the violation of these policies can be filed on the souped-up aviation consumer protection Web site, airconsumer.dot.gov.
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