NAPA, Calif. – Four years ago today, 13,800 people boarded 138 American Airlines jets in hopes of reaching Dallas Fort Worth for their connecting flights during a crowded holiday season in late 2006/early 2007. Yet, all 138 of these flights were diverted to 24 airports in and around Texas to endure what would be for some people–including Kate Hanni and family–a painful and life-changing ordeal. In Hanni’s case, she and her family were stuck on an airport tarmac for 9 hours and 17 minutes without water, food, or usable toilets. That is when she decided to take action.
In the last 3 days dozens if not hundreds of International Flights have been stuck on the tarmac at JFK — upwards of 13 hours in the case of an El Al flight — and many for over 8 hours, such as flights of Cathay Pacific, Delta Airlines, Austrian Air, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Air Emirates and Iceland Air Express. They then have spent additional days without food, water or access to medicines inside the JFK airport, without help.
“FlyersRights.org has become, in 4 short years, the organization that airline passengers rely on to stand up for them and fight for their rights,” said Kate Hanni, Director. “But clearly we have not done enough to prevent these horrifying tarmac strandings.
“FlyersRights.org demands that DOT investigate this event and promulgate a rule that includes protections for international airline passengers. Clearly, passenger safety, customs requirements, and airport security considerations must be a part of that new rule. FRO also looks forward to final passage of the FAA Modernization act in Congress, which contains many further provisions for airline passengers that will make their travel by air safer, healthier and more tolerable. We intend to be the voice for all air travelers indefinitely!
“When I was on the DOT’s coveted Tarmac Delay Task Force the airports including the New York Port Authority made idle promises, saying they did not need to have a mandate and would ensure that another Jet Blue did not happen. There was absolute assurance from the airports that they would help airline passengers during long on ground delays to a) always have a gate available b) make common use gates available, c) to keep airport vendors open 24/7 to ensure no one goes hungry or thirsty and to store emergency rations. They promised never again become a part of the tarmac delay problem so the DOT did not regulate them”…”Clearly their memories are short and those promises meant nothing in the face of this latest incident.”