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April 29, 2010

Government's 3-Hour Rule About to Become Reality

In Rob Lovitt's article on MSNBC yesterday, he cites the "pros, cons, and complications" with the Department of Transportation's new "3-hour" rule. The new rule, which is set to take effect on April 29th, will impose regulatory protection against tarmac delays of 3 hours or more.

What does this mean for travelers?

The Department of Transportation (DOT) introduced the new 81-page rule in December 2009, which seeks to improve passenger protection on several issues. The new rule primarily deals with extended tarmac delays and states that passengers on domestic flights should be allowed to disembark after three hours (as long as doing so doesn't create a safety or security issue, or interfere with airport operations). To enforce the rule, a fine is imposed on airlines who don't comply - to the tune of $27,500 per passenger! For a standard 737, that would mean a $3 million fine for the airline. Yikes!

On the flip side, some speculate that the airlines, in an attempt to comply with the new rule, will end up cancelling more flights. If this is the case, there will be more unhappy passengers on the ground - DOT statistics state that 903 flights were stranded on the ground for 3 or more hours last year (approximately 0.014 percent, or 1 in 7,143 flights).

You can read more of the story's details on MSNBC.com. Be sure to leave us your comments - what do you think of the new rule?


Posted by Dawn Sue-Dare on April 29, 2010 at 11:34 AM in Current Affairs, Travel | Permalink


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I think the rules are really good. To some certain airline, will no longer be delayed too long. In this case the fate of passengers became more concerned, particularly about the certainty of scheduled departure.

Posted by: Richard@Cheap Air Flights | May 16, 2010 7:41:44 PM

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