Friday, August 13, 2010
Tarmac Strandings? What Tarmac Strandings?
Some apologists for the airline industry have been scoffing at the idea that Kate Hanni's and others' activism on behalf of stranded passengers has caused the rather abrupt decline in such incidents since the Transportation Department instituted severe penalties in April.
The evidence is pretty persuasive that the problem -- passengers stuck for three hours or more (sometimes 12 hours) on planes stranded on tarmacs -- has almost disappeared. Maybe it's a ... coincidence that the numbers dropped so sharply after the Transportation Department rule, fining airlines up to $27,500 per passenger for such strandings -- took effect on April 29.
In June, U.S. airlines recorded only three tarmac delays in excess of three hours, compared with 268 in June 2009 -- with no increase in the rate of canceled flights, the Transportation Department's Bureau of Transportation Statistics says.