I am sure you have heard on the news about passengers being stuck in planes for hours and hours with little food and water. Is that a fun experience? Heck no.
When I was a teenager I was stuck on the tarmac for over five hours and it was not a pleasant experience. However, after the five hours I got to fly home to my family. My flight was from Seattle, WA to Reno, NV and we had to be diverted to San Jose, CA due to poor weather. With the new rules going into affect in two days, I could have been stuck at an unfamiliar airport, with no family and no real money.
Over the past few years, quite a few airlines have made the news for leaving passengers stuck on the runway for hours; passengers got angry. Some passengers got REALLY angry. They wanted the government to step in and make sure no other passenger had to be stuck on the tarmac for long periods of time again.
To me, being stuck on the plane was not a fun experience, but it is life, it happens. No matter the form of transportation I would have used, the end result would have been the same — delayed due to the weather.
The new rules, starting April 29th, state that an airline will have to allow passengers to disembark if they have been sitting on the tarmac for three hours, unless doing so would jeopardize safety. The new rule sounds like a pretty good deal for passengers in theory, but in reality, I think it will cause a lot more frustration, loss of money and even more angry passengers.
With the new rules, an airline can be charge up to $27,500.00 per passenger that is left on an airplane for more than three hours. That is a lot of money. If an airline sees that a flight might be delayed for three hours, instead of waiting, they might just cancel the flight. This doesn’t mean that the plane will just sit around waiting. That plane needs to be at the next destination. It might have to fly empty to pick up the next set of passengers. If it doesn’t, routes all over will be delayed and even more passengers will be upset and more revenue will be lost.
That leaves the question: Would you rather be stuck on a plane for four hours and reach your destination? Or would you rather be stuck in a city, sleeping in the airport for much longer…possibly days?
What’s worse is New York’s JFK airport is already known for their long delays. Right now their main runway is closed for some improvements. Because of this, some airlines have asked for an exception from the three hour rule, but they were denied. Remind me not to fly out of JFK for the next few weeks!
Again, this is another time where the government should not be interfering with the airlines. Already airlines get a bad rap if they leave passengers in the airplane for hours. The mainstream media loves to bash them.
The airline business is extremely complicated and that is when things go right. Throw in bad weather, aircraft issues, scheduling problems, huge pressure for the lowest prices, and security and you have a business just waiting for things to go wrong.
For me, I would rather be stuck on an airplane going no where for a few hours, than not being able to reach my destination. I can easily survive a few hours without food and water and waiting inside an airplane is a heck of a lot better than trying to take a bus.Image: matt.hintsa