TODAY'S QUESTION: Is a new law limiting tarmac time for domestic aircraft good enough?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 | 1:37 p.m. CST

On a tight schedule of traveling, the last thing a passenger wants to deal with is a delay. That's especially the case at the airport, where delays are not only frustrating but can set back other plans.

A new federal law announced Monday says airlines will no longer be allowed to leave a passenger-filled plane on the tarmac for more than three hours.

This is intended to prevent situations where passengers are stuck on an aircraft for much longer than they had expected, as has occasionally happened in recent years. At hub airports, planes can often be seen forming long lines to approach takeoff.

This August, 47 passengers were kept onboard after their flight diverted to Rochester, Minn. Despite sitting just 50 yards from the terminal, according to National Public Radio and CNN, they had to stay on the plane until early the next morning.

The timing of the legislation isn't as significant as it might seem. Though heavy traffic and delays are common at this time of year, it will take approximately four months for the law to go into effect.

Some have called the legislation a "Christmas miracle" for travelers, but sitting up to three hours on a plane without going anywhere can mean a long delay and be very uncomfortable.

Have you ever been stuck on the tarmac for an extended period while traveling? Are you satisfied with this legislation? Does the new law go far enough?


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