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Diatribe: There Should Be A Limit To The Amount Of Time A Plane Is Allowed To Sit On A Runway Without Affording Passengers The Opportunity To Deplane.


The biggest inconvenience that I’ve ever encountered in an airport, aside from the idiosyncrasies of my fellow passengers, was an early New Years Day flight departing from Southwest Florida Regional Airport.  It was a particularly chilly winter and, on that morning a rare frost covered the landscape.  We boarded the plane as scheduled and left on time but, once we’d taxied to the runway, it was discovered that there was ice on the wings of the plane.  In southwest Florida, the only way to de-ice an airplane on a cold morning is to wait for the sun to come up and melt the frost.  This takes quite a long time and, consequently, I missed a connecting flight later in the day.  It was a very frustrating trip.

Passengers aren’t the only people who get frustrated when air travel is interrupted, delayed or cancelled.  News stories about frustrated flight attendants are becoming all too frequent.  A flight attendant is in the news this week for, allegedly, throwing a conniption fit on board a flight that was delayed at New York’s LaGuardia airport.  Weather conditions prevented the plane from departing on time and traffic in the airport required the plane to wait on the runway for more than four hours.  By that time, the flight crew was not legally allowed to take off due to laws regarding the amount of time they can safely spend on duty.

It seems to me that the passengers on that flight were, essentially, held hostage for four hours.  Certainly, standard security and safety precautions prevent passengers coming and going as they please but it’s easy to understand why passengers on this flight were upset.  When paying the high cost of air travel customers expect flights to depart and arrive on time.  After all, that’s the service that airlines provide.  Of course, circumstances arise like weather problems or equipment malfunctions that interrupt scheduled flights, but passengers should never be treated like prisoners.

There needs to be a limit to the amount of time a plane is allowed to sit on a runway without affording passengers the opportunity to deplane.

Copyright © 2012

From → Diatribes

One Comment
  1. I agree wholeheartedly. I hate flying at the best of times, but to be held hostage in a plane for extra time like this is totally uncalled for. I remember having a flight out of Montreal with a departure time of 0635 a.m., so my husband & I had to get up at 3 a.m. to be at the airport on time. We boarded the plane on time, only to find out the noise bylaws prevented any planes from taking off prior to 7 a.m. So we had to sit on the runway until after 7 a.m. to take off. No wonder people don ‘t like airlines!


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