MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Starting Tuesday airline passengers will have more power. High profile cases, including one in Minnesota, led to the new rules.

On August 11, 2009, 47 passengers spent nine hours on a Continental commuter plane. They were trapped on the tarmac in Rochester, Minn., for more than six hours, even though the terminal was open.

Link Christin was on that plane. He said it ran out of food and water, and that the toilet broke in the middle of the night.

“It was a relatively horrible scene,” Christin said.

Since that experience, Christin has helped to lead the charge for change. Because of his persistence, the Department of Transportation eventually adopted new tarmac time limits.

Starting Tuesday there will be more protections:
-Airlines must display all potential charges on their websites including cancelation fees
-Airlines must refund baggage fees for lost luggage on top of paying for lost belongings.
-Twice the ticket price will be paid to passengers bumped from flights or delayed for up to two hours longer as much as four times the ticket value.
-Airlines will be fined for any international flights stuck on the tarmac for more than four hours.

“I think what it took was a few extreme situations to kind of push the tide a little bit in that direction,” Chrsitin said.

More rules for airlines are expected to come in January, when customers buying tickets at least two weeks ahead will be able to change reservations within 24 hours of booking. Also, all taxes and fees will have to be displayed in any airlines advertised price.

Comments (6)
  1. Theresa Kasel says:

    But the flight trapped on the tarmac for 6 hours wasn’t an international flight, so they would have stilled been trapped on the tarmac. It shouldn’t matter if a flight is domestic or international, no one should be forced to sit in a plane that IS NOT FLYING for more than 1 hour. I’d be willing to put some flexibility around that — if the plane takes off within 15 minutes of the one hour time limit, I’ll waive the fines — but there has to be a line because the airlines won’t draw one of their own.

    And the punishment shouldn’t just be a fine — it should be cash back to the passengers on the plane. The government wasn’t inconvenienced by the looney ideas the airline industry has — the passengers were.

  2. mike says:

    That is very good news. Thanks for people who worked hard to make this possible! Airlines are greedy and they could care less about customer. One time I was flying on Delta from MSP to orange county and they put my luggage on a different flight going to New york and that really frustrated me.

  3. BB says:

    I believe any passengers stuck on the tarmac longer than a hour should be refunded their 25 percent, another hour and the refund amount continues to go up. I would say 25 percent per hour left on the tarmac. There should be a fine after a hour that continues to go up for each additional hour. It should not matter if it is international or domestic.

  4. Wink says:

    What about the pat-downs/molestations?

  5. chuck in st paul says:

    Go visit Flyers Rights for more up to date info. We have been trying to get Congress to force airlines to deplane the passengers if the delay will exceed two hours. THAT was the biggest issue for flyers. Ticket refunds are okay, but being held hostage on a plane for eight hours is pure BS. It has happend over and over again.

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