Why is it legal to keep passengers waiting on the tarmac more than five hours?

tarmac delays
Can you think of a good reason to hold a flight on the tarmac for more than five hours? I can’t.

But the passengers on Mesa Airlines flight 7262 from Washington Dulles to Rochester, NY, on May 29 may well be wondering. According to the Transportation Department, they waited 311 minutes before their flight was canceled and returned to the gate.

A look at the other most-delayed flight shows the the folks on Mesa 7262 were in good company. Two other Mesa flights make the top-five list, along with a Delta Air Lines and American Eagle flight.

The airline apologists among you will look up the weather forecasts for May 29 and, I’m sure, find a perfectly good reason for a delay.

But five hours? Come on.

That shouldn’t be legal.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on our help forum.

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