Archive for Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tarmac-time debate renewed

June 24, 2010


— A hot, dark and miserable four-hour stretch spent by hundreds of travelers parked in a diverted trans-Atlantic plane renewed calls Wednesday to add international travel to a months-old federal rule limiting how long airlines can keep passengers trapped on the tarmac.

All of about 300 passengers marooned late Tuesday and early Wednesday at Bradley International Airport outside Hartford, Conn., finally reached their original destination, New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport, by mid-afternoon, piling off buses and describing chaos and desperation in the cabin as temperatures and tempers rose.

A federal three-hour limit on tarmac strandings went into effect in April, eight months after 47 passengers on a Continental Express flight were stranded overnight on a runway in Rochester, Minn.

The limit doesn’t apply to international flights and overseas airlines like Britain’s Virgin Atlantic, but Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently solicited comments on whether it should. Federal officials will investigate whether the Connecticut stranding violated any rules.


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