So, oops, it happened again. A flight that was supposed to take less than five hours took 14 because of a nine-hour overnight on the tarmac.
This time it was a TACA International Airlines from San Salvador to Los Angeles, diverted because of heavy fog and left to sit on the ground with 193 passengers aboard at Ontario International Airport.
“Just why the passengers were forced to wait for so long on the cramped aircraft remained a matter of dispute Monday,” The Los Angeles Times reports.
The airline blames the local authorities, saying they wouldn’t let the passengers off the plane to clear customs and immigration. The airport authorities say TACA never asked.
OK. Whatever. Here’s why we need a law, a passenger bill of rights. Because nobody in this situation had to ask, “How much is this gonna cost us?” No fine, no punishment, no nothing, for confining nearly 200 people without room to stretch or sleep and, it seems, enough food.
If somebody on the ground or in the plane was able to say with authority, “Hey, you need to get those people off the plane — there’s a law,” that’s probably what would have happened. If they couldn’t get through customs and immigration immediately, they could at least get into a secure holding area until that could happen.
So, go ahead, sign the petition. Because this is not how we want to treat human beings in this country.