Between October 2008 and October 2009, there were 1,100 tarmac delays of three hours or more. That’s a very small percentage of all commercial flights but when you consider all the news stories of six hour tarmac delays, it’s ridiculous why this type of behavior is acceptable, let alone legal.
Fortunately, as of yesterday, the Department of Transportation introduced new regulation that would fine airlines up to $27,000 per passengers for tarmac delays of three hours or more. Airlines would also be required to provide food, water, and adequate bathroom facilities during “long delays.” The captain of the plane would have the authority to exceed the three hour limit given security or safety concerns.
U.S. Airlines Can Face Big Fines For Long Delays [New York Times]