Airports Ought to Have the Discretion to Disembark Stranded Passengers from Diverted Flights, Contingency Plans Should be in Place for Stranded International Passengers
On October 29th, 2011, 28 international and domestic flights had been diverted to Bradley Airport in Hartford, CT due to inclement weather, stranding a big number of passengers, one for over ten hours. This was because of the fact that airports aren't held accountable under the stipulations of the current three-hour tarmac rule. International flights are also held to a different standard because of customs requirements. These days, FlyersRights.org proposed additional enhancements towards the DOT Rule to close the "diversion" loophole.
"Local airports must have the authority to permit passengers to disembark to secured areas inside the facilities, according to a set of accepted guidelines during exigent circumstances this kind of as inclement climate," said Kate Hanni, President and Founder of FlyersRights.org. "Additionally, ought to international passengers be stranded due to diversions, arrangements should be made to deplane them following 4 hours to a secure area if resources aren't accessible on the ground to clear them via customs effectively."
"We are operating using the Department of Transportation, the Transportation Security Administration, business stakeholders and other people to safely and effectively close this loophole as soon as feasible," additional Hanni.
The issues at Bradley caused from the diverted flights were not unique. In 2006, 138 American Airline flights, each domestic and international, were diverted to 24 different airports across Texas. At least 67 of those flights were forced to sit for more than four hrs around the tarmacs, with a few of them sitting in excess of 9 hours. In April 2007, 92 flights had been diverted to the exact same airports, with similar stranding wait times. These had been regularly occurring occasions that affected countless thousands of unsuspecting passengers.
In 2008, a Task Force representing the airlines, airports, the TSA, CBP and FlyersRights.org, was produced for "developing contingency plans for lengthy on-ground delays." The TSA made a recommendation for your airports to deplane international passengers into a "sterile" space with out getting to go through normal customs procedures. Passengers would happen to be escorted to and in the secured area by airline or airport workers and permitted to re-embark for your continuation of their trip. To date, no airports have taken any actions to adopt that policy.
FlyersRights.org has sent out a number of Freedom of Information Act [FOIA] requests to all major and medium hub airports that frequently obtain diverted flights. Although results have not yet been finalized, preliminary figures indicate at least half of all airports haven't implemented any contingency plans for the management of passengers diverted to their facilities. Many in the airports contacted have responded by saying that it not their responsibility to have a plan, but is solely the responsibility of the airlines to handle this problem. The complete results in the airline and airport readiness study will be released to the media by December 30th.