Outrage Grows Over Tarmac Delays

Another blogger has weighed in on the outrageous case of the ExpressJet flight that sat on the ground overnight at the Rochester, Minn., airport because nobody could be bothered to get 47 passengers off the cramped regional jet. And that blogger is Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

This case is shaping up to be the¬†straw that broke the camel’s back. I believe we will end up with an air passenger rights law out of this one, and it’s about damned time. As Arthur Frommer recently blogged, it’s time to tell the airlines “that passengers have the right to get the hell off the plane.”

It might happen, once in a while, that somebody gets trapped in an elevator or a train or a bus. That’s what we call an accident. But in the airline industry, it’s no accident. It’s a recurring symptom of a systemic problem that the airlines are unable or unwilling to solve on their own.

Not all airlines are equally at fault. Check out this chart from USA Today, which shows the frequency of tarmac delays of at least three hours, by airline. And keep it in mind next time you book a flight.

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