Showing posts with label delay. Show all posts
Showing posts with label delay. Show all posts

09 February 2013

Video of AirSafe.com webinar on effects of major storms on airline passengers now available

During the height of the snowstorm that hit the east coast of the US on february 8th, Dr. Todd Curtis of AirSafe.com conducted a webinar on passenger issues related to major weather-related disruptions, and offered attendees numerous resources for dealing with these issues.

Photo credit: Chattanooga Times Free Press

Note: The webinar has ended, but you can see a video of the webinar below:

If you want to be a part of future webinars, please join the AirSafe.com mailing list at subscribe.airsafe.com

If subscribe, you will also have access to free copies of the three books mentioned during the webinar:

Each mailing has a link at the bottom of the email that takes you to the download page for the following books:

- AirSafe.com Baggage and Security Guide
- AirSafe.com Airline Complaint Guide
- AirSafe.com Family Air Travel Guide

If you are already a mailing list member, check your last email for a link to these books.

If you wish to connect with Dr. Curtis or with AirSafe.com, you can do so at the following:

Follow AirSafe.com
Twitter: http://bit.ly/XPgs1k
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/Wdo4g8

Follow Dr. Todd Curtis
LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/WLPECt
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/VBwKRb

08 February 2013

Webinar on Airline Passenger Issues During Severe Storms

The severe snowstorm that is hitting the east coast of the US today has caused major disruptions to airline schedules and to the plans of passengers. This webinar will discuss some of the key airline delay polices due to weather-related causes and how they affect passengers, and will also offer attendees numerous resources for dealing with these issues.

Photo credit: Chattanooga Times Free Press

Note: The webinar has ended, but you can see a video of the webinar below:

If you want to be a part of future webinars, please join the AirSafe.com mailing list at subscribe.airsafe.com

26 October 2012

How severe storms can affect your air travel plans

Should hurricane Sandy hit the east coast of the US early next week, anyone planning to fly anywhere in the US may expect serious delays or even flight cancellations. Because US airlines are not required to provide any kind of reimbursement or compensation for flight delays or cancellations.

This storm may be particularly destructive because it may combine with other weather systems in conditions similar to those that created the 'Perfect Storm' of movie fame. Already this upcoming storm, possibly occurring around Halloween, has been given the nickname 'Frankenstorm.'

What flights may be affected If your airline has flights anywhere on the east coast of the US, a large major storm could disrupt your airline's flights throughout your network, and there may be disruptions for several days before and after the storm hits.

The current forecasts have the storm hitting the east coast early next week in an area that include airports in or near Baltimore, Boston, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC. Airlines with major operations in this region include American, United, US Airways, Southwest, and JetBlue. Also, a number of international airlines fly into cities in this region.

Compensation for delays and cancellations For domestic US Flights, there are no US federal regulations that require any compensation for a delayed or cancelled flight. However, your airline may have a special policy for compensating passengers whose flights are delayed or cancelled by a major storm, and those policies may include things such as waiving fees for changing reservations.

What Should You Do?

  • Check to see if your flight is affected
  • Check the airline's web site for special notices about the storm
  • Keep track of storm forecasts
  • Be prepared to have your flight delayed, rerouted, or cancelled

Airline Travel Issues and Hurricanes

For more videos, visit the AirSafe.com YouTube channel.


Resources
Compensation for delays and overbookings
Airline travel issues and hurricanes

29 April 2010

New Tarmac Delay Rules Have Large Loopholes

As of today, new Department of Transportation rules require most airlines operating in the US to allow passengers the opportunity to get off an aircraft after three hours of a tarmac delay. Large airlines can be fined up to $27,500 for each violation. While this new rule will literally be a great relief for many delayed passengers, significant loopholes may keep some passengers from being helped by the new rules.

Basics of the new rules
According to the DOT, US airlines operating domestic flights may not permit an aircraft to remain on the tarmac at large and medium hub airports for more than three hours without deplaning passengers, with exceptions allowed only for safety or security reasons or if air traffic control advises the flight crew that returning to the terminal would disrupt airport operations.

US carriers operating international flights departing from or arriving in the United States must specify, in advance, their own time limits for deplaning passengers, with the same exceptions applicable. Non-US carriers operating a code share flight with a US carrier must comply with these rules (though other non-US carriers do not have to comply).

Carriers are required to provide adequate food and potable drinking water for passengers within two hours of the aircraft being delayed on the tarmac and to maintain operable lavatories and, if necessary, provide medical attention.

Loophole for smaller airports
The new rule leaves airlines quite a few opportunities to keep passengers on the tarmac for more than three hours. One of the loopholes is implied by the DOT specifying the the rule applies to "large and medium hub airports." Deep inside a DOT document about these new rules were both the definitions of a large and medium hub airport, and the fact that only 69 airports meet one of these definitions (see below). Given that there are about 450 airports in the US offering airline service, a significant fraction of passengers may be forced to stay on an aircraft well past the three hour mark.
  • Large hub airports: ATL, BOS, BWI, CLT, DCA, DEN, DFW, DTW, EWR, FLL, HNL, IAD, IAH, JFK, LAS, LAX, LGA, MCO, MIA, MSP, ORD, PHL, PHX, SAN, SEA, SFO, SLC and TPA

  • Medium hub airports: ABQ, ANC, AUS, BDL, BNA, BUF, BUR, CLE, CMH, CVG, DAL, HOU, IND, JAX, MCI, MDW, MEM, MHT, MKE, MSY, OAK, OGG, OKC, OMA, ONT, ORF, PBI, PDX, PIT, PVD, RDU, RNO, RSW, SAT, SDF, SJC, SJU, SMF, SNA, STL and TUS
The rule would not have helped these passengers
There was a recent extreme tarmac delay event were it appears that the passengers would not have been eligible for the benefits of this new rule. Last month, a Virgin America flight from Los Angeles to New York took about an extra 12 hours to complete, including about four hours waiting on the tarmac at Stewart International airport in Newburgh, NY airport. This airport (SWF) was definitely not in the list of large or medium hub airports.

Two lavatory loopholes
There are two separate loopholes concerning the availability of lavatories. First, the requirement to have access to a lavatory during a tarmac delay does not apply to aircraft that don't have a lavatory. Also, some aircraft with a single lavatory are allowed to fly in some circumstances without an operating lavatory. So long as the airline informs passengers before the flight, the airline would not be in violation of the new rules of that aircraft were involved in a tarmac delay of up to three hours. Review the DOT FAQ document for additional details.

What is adequate food and water?
Within that same DOT document of FAQs about these new rules was a discussion of what qualifies as adequate food and water. While the DOT does not expect airlines to provide full meal service, the document did say that a granola bar or an individual pack of snack food, along with a 12 ounce bottle of water, would be sufficient.

What should you do to prepare for a delay?
It spite of the new rules, it is clear that a passenger may still experience a tarmac delay where there is no access to a lavatory, food, or sufficient water. While a delay may be inconvenient, it does not have to be uncomfortable. Taking the following basic steps on every flight should keep your bad experience from turning into a terrible one:
  • Keep all prescription medicine and other essential medical supplies with you in your carry on bag.

  • Bring along a snack or a small meal in your carry on bag.

  • If you have a medical exemption that allows you to bring liquids through security, do so.

  • If you are traveling with an infant or small child, TSA will allow you to carry baby formula, breast milk, juice or water through security.

  • If you don't have a medical exemption, buy a bottle of water or juice after you go through security and before you get on the airplane.

  • Visit tsa.airsafe.org for a list of additional exemptions for liquids.
Additional resources
Airlines with 3+ hour delays 2008-2009
How to complain to your airline

Photo Credit: Matthew and Tracie

16 March 2010

Virgin America flight 10 hours late including, 7 on tarmac

Last Saturday on March 13, 2010, Virgin America flight 404, a flight from LAX airport in Los Angeles to JFK airport in New York, left California just after seven in morning for a scheduled five hour flight. Unfortunately for the passengers and crew, the airplane was diverted to Newburgh, NY, where the aircraft was stuck on tarmac for at least four hours. Eventually, the passengers were taken by bus to JFK, arriving about 12 hours behind schedule.

Many of the media reports about this event are focusing on the human behavior aspects of the story, including tales of passenger misbehavior, fight attendants rationing potato chips and cookies, the screaming babies, and a social networking site CEO creating online videos and live Twitter posts.

No airliner incident involving a flight from LAX would be complete without a Hollywood connection. One of the passengers was Carrie Ann Inaba, a judge on the "Dancing with the Stars" television show, who you may remember from her (un?)forgettable role as Fook Yu in the movie Austin Powers in Goldmember (not to be confused with the character Fook Mi, played by the equally memorable Diane Mizota).

Long tarmac delays now tracked by the DOT
In the last few years, tarmac delays became a very visible issue in the media and with numerous members of the US Congress in response to a series of incidents in which passengers were stranded on the ground aboard aircraft for lengthy periods. The US Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed a rule change in November 2008 that requires airlines to provide adequate food and water within two hours of a tarmac delay, and to keep lavatories in operation. This change in tarmac delay regulations was adopted in December 2009.

Another change was that the DOT now provides detailed information on flights with delays of three hours or more. One of the most reliable sources of information for US airline data and statistics is the DOT's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). Their reports provide information on departure delays that includes details on individual flights that were delayed three hours or more, as well as summaries of departure delays by airline and by airport.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, there were 902 flights with tarmac delays of three hours or more in 2009. Some of these flights were delayed even longer, with 137 flights delayed four hours or more.

What to do if you are stuck

Surprisingly, the BTS summary data would likely exclude the Virgin America event because the BTS only tracks data for 19 of the largest US airlines. Fortunately for the average passenger, any extreme delay incident will likely make it into either the traditional media or some kind of online media. In the unlikely event that you are stuck on an airplane for several hours, there are many things you can do to get the word out and perhaps encourage the airline to address your situation. Some examples include:
  • Contact your family to update them on your situation.

  • If you have a Internet capable device, update your Twitter account, Facebook page, or any other kind of social media that you have.

  • If you have the capability to document your delay with photos or videos, do so during the event, and when you have a chance add it to a service like Flickr or YouTube.

  • Contact local news media and encourage them to cover the event.
Do You Have an Extreme Delay Story? - Please Share it With Us
The delay data provided by the DOT is quite valuable in that it provides a statistical summary, but it doesn't provide the kind of personal perspective that a passenger can. If you have been on a plane in one of these extreme delay situations, we'd like to do our part and publish your story. Please visit the AirSafe.com Online Complaint Form and share your experience, even if it did not involve an airliner flight in the US. We'd like to post one or more of these stories on FlightsGoneBad.com.

Graphic: New York Post

22 December 2009

US Government Proposes Compensation and Other Requirements for Passengers Delayed Three Hours or More

Yesterday, the US Transportation Department announced new limits on how long airline passengers will be forced to wait in planes stuck on the airport tarmac. The key changes, which are scheduled to go into effect about four months after the rule is published in the Federal Register, include the following:
  • Planes must return to the terminal if the delay exceeds three hours.

  • Requires airlines to display on their web site the flight delay information for each domestic flight they operate.

  • Requires air carriers to adopt contingency plans for lengthy tarmac delays and to publish those plans on their web sites.

  • Carriers are required to provide adequate food and potable drinking water for passengers within two hours of the aircraft being delayed on the tarmac and to maintain operable lavatories and, if necessary, provide medical attention.
There are some exceptions for security reasons and if air traffic control orders the crew to not return to the terminal. More details are available in the

History of These Rule Changes
These rule changes didn't happen because of the recent snowstorm in the northeast US last week, but because of numerous severe delay incidents over the last several years, including an August 2009 event where Continental Airlines, ExpressJet Airlines and Mesaba Airlines were fined a total of $175,000 for stranding passengers on an aircraft for nearly six hours.

Related AirSafeNews.com Articles
Delays of Three Hours or Longer from January to August 2009
Databases That Track Long Tarmac Delays.

19 December 2009

Severe winter storm in the eastern US forces airlines to cancel and delay flights

The winter storm that has swept through the northeast US the weekend before Christmas, forcing a number of airlines to cancel, delay, and reroute flights. JetBlue, United, and Virgin America were just some of the airlines that canceled flights, and experienced delays and other problems associated with the heavy snowfall associated with the storm.

If you plan to travel by air in the US in the next few days, even if your trip does not take you to the east coast, you should take the time to do the following:
  • Check with your airline to see if your flight is affected
  • Check the airline's web site to see if they are posting special notices about the storm
  • Keep track of storm forecasts
  • Be prepared to have your flight delayed, rerouted, or canceled

Many airlines are waiving change fees associated with any affects flights. Keep in mind that airlines are not obligated to provide any compensation for flight delays. Just about the only situation where you can get compensation for a delay is if you are significantly delayed because you were involuntarily bumped from a flight.

Additional Resources
Dealing with delays, bumping, and cancellations
How to make an airline complaint
General baggage advice
US flight delay data from the FAA

25 November 2009

Airlines Fined for Stranding Passengers Plus The Best Passenger Safety Briefing Ever

Three Airlines Fined for Stranding Passengers Overnight
Earlier this year on August 8th, Continental Express Flight 2816, which was en route from Houston to Minneapolis and carrying 47 passengers, was diverted to Rochester, Minnesota because of thunderstorms where it landed about 12:30 am. The passengers and crew ended up stranded on the aircraft for over seven hours because the terminal had already closed for the night, and the employees who could have opened the terminal refused to do so.

This event attracted national attention at the time, and the US Department of Transportation (DOT) announced yesterday that it would impose $175,000 in fines on the three airlines involved. Continental Airlines and its regional airline partner ExpressJet, which operated the flight for Continental, were each fined $50,000. Mesaba Airlines, which was responsible for operating the terminal at Rochester, Minnesota, was fined $75,000.

This was the first time that the DOT has fined airlines for stranding passengers on the tarmac, but by no means was this the first time that passengers have been stuck on the tarmac for long periods of time. Earlier this month, AirSafeNews.com had an article about the delay statistics made available by the DOT's Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

The Best Passenger Safety Briefing Ever
When it comes to preflight passenger safety briefings, most passengers have sat through many of them, and most of them are not the least bit entertaining or memorable. The FAA does not dictate what information airlines should provide passengers during the preflight safety briefing. However, the FAA provides general guidance in Advisory Circular 121-24C, where one of the suggestions is that "The pretakeoff oral briefing should be given so that each passenger can clearly hear it and easily see required demonstrations. Flight attendants giving these briefings should speak slowly and distinctly."

Flight attendant David Holmes of Southwest Airlines created a preflight passenger briefing that ignored the advice about speaking slowly, and was both entertaining and memorable.





National Geographic Traveler published an extensive interview with David Holmes where he talked about his in-flight rapping. The following question and answer is the highlight of that interview.

National Geographic Traveler - The Federal Aviation Administration has some pretty strict requirements about in-flight safety announcements. How did you ensure that you met those, while still maintaining your artistic integrity?

David Holmes - Everything we have to say is carefully scripted for us -- all the safety information. As you know, one challenge is getting people to listen -- the other is making sure they have all the info. Why shouldn't it be fun?

Why not indeed.

16 November 2009

Find Out Which Airlines Had Flights Delayed Three Hours or More This Year

Every passenger knows the feeling of frustration that comes when the airplane is on the ground and you have to wait in a long line just to get the chance to take off, or even to park at a gate. Sometimes this waiting game can go on for several hours. Last week, AirSafeNews.com identified US airline flights that had delays of four hours or more in 2009. In today's article, we are offering a different set of statistics from the US Department of Transportation (DOT) that provide summaries of flights delayed two hours or more, and details about individual flights delayed at least three hours.

One of the most reliable sources of information for US airline data and statistics is the DOT's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). One of its newest reports provides information on departure delays that includes details on individual flights that were delayed three hours or more, as well as summaries of departure delays by airline and by airport.

One table provides a monthly summary of tarmac delays from October 2008 to September 2009, and it shows that over that 12-month period, there were about 6.5 million flights and 1,097 experienced tarmac delays of three hours or more. June 2009 had the most delays of this type with 278, and November 2008 and September 2009 were tied for the month with the fewest delays at seven.

Click to see larger picture

Much more detail is available on the September 2009 summary, where the BTS listed the record of individual carriers with significant tarmac delays.

The BTS breaks down information by individual carrier. For example, if you review the September 2009 carrier summary for delay data, you will find how many times each of the reviewed airlines had delays of two hours or more.

All the charts mentioned in this article also provide links to spreadsheets so you can download the data and more easily perform your own detailed analysis.

While the BTS data is quite detailed for larger airlines, data from all airlines are not included in these reports. Only the 19 largest airlines are required to report air travel statistics to the DOT. This would exclude delay information from smaller airlines and from non-US airlines.

Do You Have an Extreme Delay Story? - Please Share it With Us
The delay data provided by the DOT is quite valuable in that it provides everyone with a good general understanding of how bad delays can get. If you have been on a plane in one of these extreme delay situations, we'd like to hear from you. Please visit the AirSafe.com Online Complaint Form and share your experience, even if it did not involve an airliner flight in the US. We'd like to post one or more of these stories on FlightsGoneBad.com.

09 November 2009

134 Flights Delayed on Tarmac for Four or More Hours from January to August 2009

In the last several years, airlines in the US have occasionally received very negative media attention when an aircraft gets stuck on a tarmac for several hours as passengers wait helplessly for relief. Sometimes the terminal is literally right outside their window, but they have no choice but to sit and suffer.

These events often make the news, but not always. The US Department of Transportation (DOT), which includes the FAA, has quietly included some very detailed information about these events. Reviewing their monthly Air Travel Consumer Report reveals some very interesting information. According to recent reports that cover January through August 2009, there have been a number of occasions where one of the 19 airlines required to report such data to the DOT by this report have had tarmac delays of over four hours.

Delay Summary
From January to August 2009, there were 134 occasions where a regularly scheduled flight was delayed four our more hours on the tarmac. The longest delay was seven hours and 43 minutes. The airline with the most delays in this list was Delta with 32. Of the 19 airlines tracked by the DOT, four, Alaska, Frontier, Hawaiian, and Skywest, had no flight with tarmac delays of four hours or more.

If you would like more information, such as the origin and destination airport, or the date of the occurrence, you can view the spreadsheet with the delay information

Airline Codes Used in the Air Travel Consumer Report
If you take the time to download these reports, you may have to decode some of the two-letter airline codes used in the document. The codes for the 19 airlines reporting key consumer data to the DOT are below:

FL AirTran Airways
AS Alaska Airlines
AA American Airlines
MQ American Eagle Airlines
EV Atlantic Southeast Airlines
OH Comair
CO Continental Airlines
DL Delta Air Lines
XE ExpressJet Airlines
F9 Frontier Airlines
HA Hawaiian Airlines
B6 JetBlue Airways
YV Mesa Airlines
NW Northwest Airlines
9E Pinnacle Airlines*
OO SkyWest Airlines
WN Southwest Airlines
UA United Airlines
US US Airways

Airlines in bold had no tarmac delays in excess of four hours during the first eight months of 2009.

Pinnacle Airlines volunteered to submit their data. The other 18 must report based on requirements of the DOT's Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

31 August 2008

Airline Travel Issues and Hurricanes

When hurricanes or tropical storms threaten the Gulf or Atlantic coastal areas of the US, passengers across the country may be affected. Dr. Todd Curtis of AirSafe.com reviews some of the steps that passengers should take if hurricane or tropical storm approaches.

Airline Travel Issues and Hurricanes


You can also use the links below for the podcast:
Audio: MP3 Video: WMV | iPod/MP4 | YouTube | Google Video

For additional information, including links to storm-related information for passengers, visit http://storms.airsafe.org

For Other AirSafe.com podcasts, visit http://podcast.airsafe.org

17 April 2008

Changes in Compensation for Involuntarily Bumped Passengers

As of May 2008, there will be major changes in compensation for passengers who are involuntarily bumped from an overbooked U.S. flight and who unable to reach their destination from one to two hours of the originally scheduled arrival time for domestic flights (or from one to four hours for international flights) will have maximum compensation increase from $200 to $400, and maximum compensation for delays of more than two hours (or more than for hours for an international flight) will go from $400 to $800. Also, bumping compensation will apply to flights on aircraft with 30 or more seats rather than the current restriction to aircraft with 60 or more seats.

In the U.S., the only passengers who must be compensated for flight delays are those who are delayed due to being involuntarily bumped. This is quite different from the European Community where passengers are also legally guaranteed compensation for many categories of delayed or cancelled flights. Passengers on EC flights are also compensated if they are downgraded in service to a lower flight class than that for which the ticked was purchased.

For details about the upcoming changes and about the differences in compensation in the U.S. and the European Community, visit AirSafe.com at http://www.airsafe.com/complain/bumping.htm.