According to a USA Today analysis of the Department of Transportation data, 200,000 domestic airline passengers have been stranded on more than 3,000 planes for more than 3 hours in the last 21 months. Twenty-nine of those flights were delayed more than 4 hours and the Valentines' Day Jet Blue flight that got so much publicity was delayed for more than 6 hours.
Despite years of complaints, the airline industry hasn't come up a solution to this issue so the United States Congress has introduced an Airlines Passenger Bill of Rights Act. If the Act is passed into law, the impact to the traveler would be:
- Airlines would be required to give its passengers the option to deplane after a 3-hour delay. The pilot has the discretion to forego this option if take-off clearance is within 30 minutes after the 3-hour delay.
- Airlines would provide its passengers with adequate food, water, restrooms, ventilation and medical services.
- Contingency plans for long delays would be submitted by the airline that explains how passengers would be deplaned after a long delay and how gates/facilities will be shared during these delays.
We will continue to monitor this legislation and keep you updated as to progress as it becomes available.