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News Tarmac Delay Legislation

  1. Mar 24, 2010 #1

    russ_watters

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    A lighter topic than we usually do here, but....
    http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flig...lay-rule-exemption_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip

    The argument is three-fold:
    1. Tarmac delays due to the weather are not our fault.
    2. Tarmac delays in Philly due to overcrowding of an airport with a closed runway in NYC (and/or the weather) are not our fault.
    3. Further, the airlines claim that the law will lead to more cancellations, also not their fault.

    But they are missing the point (several points):

    First, if an airport doesn't have the capacity to take off and land a certain amount of planes, schedule less flights. Yeah, it sucks that you can't utilize an airport with a closed runway at the same capacity as it had before, but if you can only take off 30 planes an hour for 15 hours (450 planes), don't schedule 500 flights a day from the airport! That's as much the fault of the people running the airports as it is the airlines, but still, the airlines are buying-into it.

    First, the law doesn't say you can't delay a flight, it just says you can't let it sit on the tarmac for a rediculous amount of time. Obvious solution? Let the people get off the plane! Or better yet, don't load the plane if you don't have a takeoff slot available. But that doesn't fit with how statistics for airlines are gathered - once it leaves the gate you can chalk it up as an "on time departure" even if it sits on the ground for the next 10 hours. So really, the airlines are sniveling over their own solution for weaseling their way around reliability stats.

    I actually happened to be in Atlanta on March 13, delayed an extra 3 hours or so waiting for my flight into Philly to leave because of the weather delay they are talking about. I sat at the closest bar for 2 hours of that, sipping overpriced beer, eating an overpriced cheeseburger and watching Illinois play themselves off the NCAA tournament bubble. I was quite content. Needless to say, if I had instead spent those 3 hours (before an hour and a half flight!) sitting on the tarmac because the airline wanted to pad their "on time departure" stats, I would have been less than thrilled.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2010
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  3. Mar 24, 2010 #2

    mgb_phys

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    I have some sympathy for the airlines.
    They often have about as much idea of the delay as you do, so they would rather have you on the plane sitting on the taxiway in case they get a go. They are burning Jet-A sitting there and aren't happy about it.

    Also if you tell passengers at the gate that there is a delay of more than about 30mins they wander off and get lost/drunk/both so they then miss the boarding announcement and you have to off load their bags- which causes more delays which mean you miss the new slot - repeat.

    The eu introduced a law giving compensation if you were delayed by >3hours, what this meant was that people who were on an on-time departure were offloaded for another set who were getting near the 3hour limit. In effect it increased the average delay.

    ps. If you are stuck on a plane and they wont let you off - the magic phrase is "I feel short of breath and I have a pain in my chest and my left arm is numb" you will be sitting in the terminal in 3mins.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2010
  4. Mar 24, 2010 #3
    I enjoy sitting on the tarmac for 3 hours next to the fat person who was to cheap to buy 2 seats. Their fat acts as a natural pillow, albeit a sweaty one.
     
  5. Mar 24, 2010 #4
    Double post!
     
  6. Mar 24, 2010 #5

    lisab

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    I must admit, I've had this same thought :redface: but I don't think I could actually go through with it. I'd probably start laughing as I tried to get the words out.
     
  7. Mar 24, 2010 #6

    mgb_phys

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    At least sitting on the plane is quiet:

    Between the constant CNN on the TV (and now broadcast out of the tannoy - so you can't secretly use your keyring IRremote to turn them off)
    The warnings not to leave you baggage unattended (I'm on the secure airside - if somebody has a bomb - left unattended is exactly where I want it)
    The ads for the airport (I have already chosen to fly through your delightful Delta hub you don't need to keep telling me I'm here)
    And the announcements that there will be no gate change announcement.
    All delivered over the top of each other

    Sitting on the tarmac for 3hours rather appeals.
     
  8. Mar 24, 2010 #7

    Char. Limit

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    I'd go through with it. I hate waiting.
     
  9. Apr 5, 2010 #8

    mheslep

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    I am with you on this one. The more egregious cases (10hrs) make me angry in another way. Yes there should be redress but that period is so out of bounds that it goes past civil into criminal violations - or maybe should. It simply shouldn't be possible in this country for someone to be restrained that long without due process police power. I'd like to see one of the dam airline officers threatened with kidnapping charges. Someone strokes out after sitting on the tarmac for 10 hours and charge them with manslaughter or negligent homicide.

    I'm not sure either that I care for the FAA fine solution mentioned the USA Today article. If everyone on the airplane agrees to sit onboard of their own free will, no problem, perhaps with the taps flowing, then why should the FAA be involved? Perhaps it is not practical to poll passengers in those conditions, still the dam airline has contract via the ticket with every individual on the plane, and I'd like to be treated as such.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2010
  10. Apr 30, 2010 #9

    russ_watters

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    All of the exemption requests were rejected. I'm pleased: http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2010-04-22-tarmac-delays-exemption-requests_N.htm
    Airlines have predicted this will lead to an increase in flight cancellations. I predict it won't. Here's why:

    There is nothing about returning to the gate that necessitates a cancellation. The cancellation increase would have to be due to airlines choosing to cancel a flight rather than see their on-time departure statistics rise (which is the whole reason behind the tarmac delays: they are done on purpose in order to manipulate their statistics). But because it wastes the time of pilots and ground crews to cancel a flight, it costs them money to cancel a flight. I don't believe they will waste money by cancelling flights just for the sake of improving their on-time departure stats.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2010
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