Airport Line

New York, NY–This may be the worst week for air passengers in more than a decade.

The Department of Transportation is considering lifting the rule that says passengers can’t be kept confined on aircrafts delayed on the tarmac for a prolonged period of time, and United Airlines and U.S. Airways have both increased their fees to change non-refundable flights—to $200! That’s more than the cost of some one-way fares! It’s only a matter of time until the rest of the airlines follow suit.

“So not only do passengers have to deal with a wide range of delays, many will do so sitting in an assigned, enclosed space for much longer than they intended/paid for,” said Julia Jacobo, vice president of “Get ready to see a lot of disgruntled people in airports.”

The FAA responding to a motion by two airline associations to waive the rule for at least 90 days or until the FAA furlough ends. They argue that, in the wake of the FAA furlough sequester madness, the delays will make it difficult to comply with the rule, which will result in penalties and fines.

However, the DOT has flexible provisions regarding air traffic control, safety or security-imposed delays, and it has the discretion on whether or not to impose to fines.

After the rule was installed in 2010, tarmac delays went from affecting up to 250,000 passengers annually down to just 5,000, according to

Any party that would like to share its views to the DOT may do so by 5 p.m. tomorrow at docket DOT-OST-2013-0084.

“The public is not going to put up with this,” Jacobo said. “There are a lot of voters out there.”

“It seems as if air travelers just can’t catch a break.”

For more on how this week is negatively affecting air travelers, read Christopher Elliot’s article.

To monitor airport delays across the country, visit the FAA.

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