DOT to airlines: “If you strand, you will pay”

I heard the news while stuck on a airplane that had been waiting in the de-icing line for almost two hours: the federal government will soon begin fining airlines if passengers are kept locked inside airplanes for long hours without food, water, or the opportunity to deplane.

Most travelers say “It’s about time.”  The airlines? They’re not so happy.  Today the president of the ATA, the trade organization representing the major U.S. airlines said, “We will comply with the new rule even though we believe it will lead to unintended consequences – more canceled flights and greater passenger inconvenience….”

Over the next few months, there’s sure to be plenty of debate about the consequences – good and bad – of the new ruling. So take a moment now, perhaps while you’re stuck on an airplane at an airport somewhere, to read the details of what Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood calls President Obama’s Passenger Bill of Rights.