In a now viral video, passengers on an Allegiant Air flight from Phoenix to Las Vegas this past Sunday took matters into their own hands after allegedly being delayed on and off the tarmac for several hours – often with no air conditioning in the hot Nevada weather. Their solution to the high temperatures and tempers? Playing and singing along with R. Kelly’s hit song, “I Believe I Can Fly.”
This incident is raising concerns about passenger safety and the overall length of time people can be kept on the tarmac with mechanical problems.The original poster alleges that the delay was around five hours, but not spent consecutively on a plane. “We changed planes after 2 hours,” he wrote, stating that they then “[s]pent one hour in the airport, and then 2 more hours on the second plane that broke down. So technically it was not more than 3 hours consecutively on the tarmac.
According to the above poster, the DOT did not violate aviation rules that prevent planes from sitting on the tarmac for more than three hours.
The US Department of Transportation Consumer Aviation Protection even weighed in on the thread, stating:
DOT rules prohibit most U.S. airlines from allowing a domestic flight to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours unless: the pilot determines that there is a safety or security reason why the aircraft cannot taxi to the gate and deplane its passengers, or Air traffic control advises the pilot that taxiing to the gate (or to another location where passengers can be deplaned) would significantly disrupt airport operations.
U.S. airlines operating international flights to or from most U.S.airports must each establish and comply with their own limit on the length of tarmac delays on those flights. On both domestic and international flights, U.S. airlines must provide passengers with food and water no later than two hours after the tarmac delay begins. While the aircraft remains on the tarmac lavatories must remain operable and medical attention must be available if needed.
What do you think, readers? Was the mid-delay escapade funny or just plain annoying? Should the airline have been better prepared to handle the delay?