I’ve been ripping on DOT Secretary Ray Lahood a bit lately for his political brinksmanship. As he’s about to leave his post the Middle Seat Terminal blog takes a look at his record.
Now, airlines face potential huge penalties if they leave people sitting on grounded planes for more than three hours (four hours for international flights). There are exceptions for safety and air-traffic control situations, but the rule has clearly curbed what had been an ugly problem. In 2009, 868 flights were stuck on the tarmac at least three hours. The rule went into effect in April 2010. That year, there were 124 flights stuck three hours or more; in 2011, there were only 86, and in the first 11 months of 2012, only 73, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
This is a significant success and a huge help to the traveling public. Big thanks for this one Mr. Secretary.