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Sittin’ on the Tarmac

     My wife and I had just finished a nice vacation overseas. Since I’m not a big fan of flying (ok, I’d rather be driving over a tall bridge, during a lightning storm, in an elevator with wheels, while having a spider crawling on my leg). We had flown about 9 hours straight and now only had a New York flight to go.

     We climbed on the little “puddle jumper”. Then, we got in line and the pilot told us we were number 23 for takeoff. I smiled and said, ” I’m so glad we’re not 24″. Then, 3 hours later, we were getting back in line after having to refuel. All told, before finally taking off, we spent over 4 hours in the cramped airplane. It’s why there are no songs about “Sittin” on the Tarmac with my Honey”.

     All that is about to change. The following is what goes into effect on Thursday, which should have some future impact on your travel. Conversely, if you believe the airlines, it just means that flights will now be cancelled for the old “mechanical problem”, instead of telling you that boarding should be soon. Anyway, here’s the list of what is to come:

     1.Let passengers off planes that are stuck on the tarmac after three hours. Exceptions are allowed for safety/security or if air traffic control advises the pilot that returning to the terminal would disrupt airport operations. That one might be the excuse most often used. I’ll bet that it will look like the last day of school crowd, when they open those airplane doors.

     2. The airline attendants will be required to  provide drinking water and snacks after two hours and maintain working lavatories. No more fighting over the one bag of stale peanuts. I can’t even joke about the non-working bathrooms. Nay Nay I say.

    3. Report information about delays on their websites. I guess the airlines don’t see the humor in the increased traffic to their website!

     4. Avoid scheduling chronically delayed flights.

     5. Comply with these regulations or face fines of up to $27,500 per passenger for violations. I guess that one will put them in the upright and locked position.

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