After a weekend winter storm, airport delays are easing on the East Coast, while stranded travelers are finally on their way to their destinations.
The U.S. Transportation Department wants to assure travelers that delays will not keep them stuck on stranded airplanes for more than three hours.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood calls these regulations a “passenger bill of rights.” In 120 days, domestic flights will be able only to keep passengers on board for three hours before they must be allowed to leave the plane. The regulation provides exceptions only for safety or security or if air traffic control warns the pilot against it.
Airlines must have food and water for passengers within two hours of a plane being delayed on a tarmac, and they must have working bathrooms. They must also offer passengers medical attention if needed.There are other regulations to attempt to improve scheduling delays.
Airlines face fines of $27,500 per passenger for each violation of the three-hour limit, LaHood says.
An airline trade group says carriers will comply with the new rule—but warns that these changes may lead to canceled flights and greater passenger inconvenience