Air travelers everywhere are no doubt taking comfort from this:
"The U.S. Department of Transportation today denied the requests of five airlines for a temporary exemption from the new rule limiting tarmac delays. As a result, all U.S. carrier flights covered by the rule will be subject to its terms effective April 29.
"'Passengers on flights delayed on the tarmac have a right to know they will not be held aboard a plane indefinitely,' U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. 'This is an important consumer protection, and we believe it should take effect as planned.'
The tarmac delay provision was part of a new airline passenger protection rule, issued last December, that prohibits U.S. airlines operating domestic flights from permitting an aircraft to remain on the tarmac at large and medium hub airports for more than three hours without deplaning passengers. Exceptions were allowed only for safety or security reasons or if air traffic control advises the pilot in command that returning to the terminal would disrupt airport operations."