A few years ago my son & I traveled alone to Oregon from San Diego. We were stuck for hours in Phoenix, AZ on the tarmac where it was over 105 degrees–& the air conditioning in the plane was broken. Ironically, with the air conditioning broken, we were not allowed to take off, however, they couldn’t get us back to the terminal. After a few hours we returned, they fixed the plane & got us back on. They assured us they realized it was HOT but that as soon as we got into the air, it would cool down.
Over 30 minutes later the pilot came on the intercom to tell us that sadly, since we’d gone back to the terminal, the “computer” had bumped our plane off the schedule to take off, so we had to “wait our turn.” We sat there another 90 minutes or so before taking off. One man tried to explain to a flighthe was diabetic & not doing so well. She snapped back that she wasn’t even allowed to be out of her seat on the tarmac so he needed to just be patient. He was sweating bullets.
I thought I was going to pass out too-literally. The flight attendants gave out tiny little cups of “ice water” to those that asked for it (that was lukewarm by the time they got it to you). By the time we arrived in Oregon I was not myself. I dragged around, waiting to feel “normal.” It took over a month before I got back to some level of normalcy. After talking to my doctor she said I what had experienced was a form of heat stroke & with my immune system, it had side effects of feeling sluggish for weeks.
That is one of the reasons I am excited about the new laws going into place today about how long a plane can sit on the tarmac. Critics say that this can mess up planes schedules & they will be fast to speed back to the gate so as not to be fined. Personally, I’d rather have my schedule messed up than my health, so I am okay with this. For those with any kind of chronic illness or condition, this law is a good thing.
Following are the new regulations that go into effect April 29 by the DOT to improve customer protections when flying in the US, provided by the San Diego Examiner.
- Customer Complaints – Airlines are now required to acknowledge customer complaints within 30 days & address the issue within 60 days.
- Tardy Takeoffs – DOT is now allowed to penalize airlines for any domestic flight that is more than 30 minutes late on at least half its trips each month for four months in a row.
- Tarmac Tribulations – Airlines are required to provide adequate food & potable drinking water for passengers within two hours of the aircraft being delayed—lavatories must also remain available & operable. If the plane is delayed more than three hours on the tarmac, it must return to the gate & deplane the passengers—barring any safety or airport disruption concerns.
- Web Site Wait Times – Airlines are required to display on their Web site flight delay information for each domestic flight they operate. The Wall Street Journal reports, however, that the airline industry is asking for an extension on the deadline for compliance on this specific issue because of technology constraints.
- Relaying Your Rights – Airlines must include on their Web site a customer service plan which, as recommended by DOT, would outline the company policies in regard to overbooking, baggage h&ling, h&ling customer complaints & many other customer service issues.
More information on these new rules can be found online at regulations.gov. Upset airplane passengers are encouraged to file a complaint with both the DOT & BBB online.
For more advice you can trust to become a smart traveler, visit http://www.bbb.org/us/consumer-tips-travel/
Related articles by Zemanta
- Tarmac delay rule to go into effect this week (cnn.com)
- American Airlines wants exemption from tarmac rule (seattletimes.nwsource.com)