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Airline tarmac delays: the first full year of results is in!
Throughout the year, Gadling has checked in to let you know that the airline industry did not fall apart as a result of shorter tarmac delays. With airlines only able to sit out there for three hours before facing hefty fines, the result has been noticeable – and positive.
"On the one-year anniversary of the tarmac delay rule, it's clear that we've accomplished our goal of virtually eliminating the number of aircraft leaving travelers stranded without access to food, water, or working lavatories for hours on end," says U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in a statement. "This is a giant step forward for the rights of air travelers."
Meanwhile, the number of canceled flights with tarmac delays of at least two hours edged only a tad higher, from 336 in the May 2009-to-April 2010 period to 387 in the 12 months that followed. This indicator is used to gauge flights canceled to avoid the three-hour rule because the DOT believed it's the most likely set of flights to be cut.
And, this is the metric where airline industry mayhem would be visible. A 15.2 percent increase – in light of a 97.1 percent decline in delays of three hours or longer – pretty much tells the story.
The numbers say it all: airlines can be held to higher standards. And, the threat of heavy fines is incredibly effective. Now, if only we could levy fines for substandard customer service ...