Congress must pass meaningful, permanent protections for ALL airline passengers during tarmac delays
NAPA, Calif., April 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Anger and frustration abounded at Newark Liberty International Airport Thursday after three hundred travelers on two Caribbean Airlines flights were left stuck on the tarmac for six hours. The flights were diverted to Newark instead of their original destination —JFK Airport. Passengers were forced to wait in the planes from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and said they really didn't know why.
"It's like a recurring nightmare," said Kate Hanni, Director FlyersRights.org. "We thought the DOT rules would send a strong enough message to international air carriers and Airports to stop entrapping people on the tarmac in hot, sweaty metal tubes absent food and water, hygienic toilets. They've shown again they have no intention of fixing these issues on their own. Clearly Congress must act and act swiftly. For four years we have fought for permanent protections, like they have in the European Union, to protect all airline passengers traveling in and out of the United States from long tarmac delays, and for four years Congress has kicked the can down the road. Enough is enough."
The DOT rule announced last week offers protections beginning August 23rd for international flights stuck on the tarmac after four hours, but it's longer than most people can tolerate. The DOT rule has passengers wait for two hours before offering them food, water, access to medications or servicing toilets. Congress has a formal passengers bill of rights in the FAA Reauthorization Bill that would limit international flights to three hours on the tarmac, and would provide food, water, access to medications and TEMPERATURE control at all times on the tarmac.
Following are comments made by effected passengers on these fated flights: "I felt like I was claustrophobic," said 11-year-old Jasmine. "They didn't have any food per se on the plane," said Nikita Job of Somerset, N.J. "It's disgusting. It's really terrible. I mean we're human, nobody should have to go through this," said Raj Wahid of Queens.
The Port Authority of New York has the resources to get folks off of planes even on international flights, to say they "don't service Caribbean Airlines" is simply unacceptable. Have they learned nothing from the nightmare of Christmas 2010 when at least 36 + jets sat from 4-12 hours on the tarmac at JFK?
So, following their long wait, passengers were eventually taken home by bus.
"I hope it never happens again," said Theresa Abraham of Long Island.
FlyersRights.org is the largest, non-profit airline passengers' rights organization in the world with 33,000 members. 1-877-359-3776 or [email protected].