Dec 21, 2009 11:42 PM by Sarah Rosario

Christmas Miracle for Holiday Travelers

For people who travel they're calling this the "Christmas Miracle." A new federal law for airlines will make sure passengers get from point A to point B without getting too mad. Monday, the Obama administration imposed a three hour time limit for tarmac strandings. So waiting in a hot airplane with air less cabins, stinky toilets, and crying babies for more than three hours will now be a thing of the past. The new law states the plane must now return to the gate after sitting on a tarmac for three hours. The rules will definitely help alleviate the stress many go through when trying to get places, but some people have said three hours is a still a really long time.

Eunice resident Donna Baltakis said she hates to fly. "Its uncomfortable and you get angry because no one will give you the right answer. They all lie to you." She said the three hour new law is not an improvement. "No longer than three hours and their doing you a favor? And for what they're charging you? No thank you."

According to the Bureau of Transportation, this year through Oct 31st. there were 864 flights with taxi out times of three hours or more. A time Kentucky resident Paige Guidry deemed unacceptable. "I think its wrong if you say its going to take off at 8:30 than it takes off at 8:30. I mean most of us wouldn't mind 10 or 15 or 20 minutes, but three hours, they should make some provisions for people," said Baltakis's husband Tony.

The airlines are now required to provide food and water for passengers within two hours of being delayed on a tarmac. New York resident Brooks Creduer said That's still too long. He like many others would rather another option. "I would want to reschedule, so now from a five hour flight it becomes an eight hour flight, so it's pretty uncomfortable and you get cramped."

Under the new regulations, the only exceptions to the requirement are for safety or security reasons. Or if air traffic control tells the pilot in command that returning to the terminal would disrupt airport operations.

Airlines could be fined 27,500 dollars per passenger for each violation of the three hour limit. For international flights, foreign carriers don't fly between two U.S, cities, and are not covered by the rules. However, the department of transportation is studying extending the three hour limit to international flights.

Sarah Rosario



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