Trapped on the Tarmac

Passenger rights group grades airlines on delays

A new report card grades the nation's airlines, naming the carriers with the longest passenger delays on the ground.

"Too many Americans are trapped in tubes on the tarmac for too long," said FlyersRights.org Executive Director Kate Hanni. "It's time for Congress to limit tarmac delays to three hours."

The passengers rights group FlyersRights.org named Southwest Airlines as the best overall.

The worst? Delta. FlyersRights bestowed the airline with its "When You Are on the Ground They Treat You Like Dirt" Award for having not only the most passenger strandings, but also the longest. The group also accuses Delta of "callously disregarding" its passengers' needs.

American earned the so-called "Flying Fickle Finger of Fate Award," for diverting a 13 hour flight from Japan to Detroit, where passengers were left waiting on the ground for another seven hours before being allowed off the plane.

US Airways got the group's "Nausea Award," because of a problem with overflowing toilets.

"It's not just a matter of passenger convenience, it’s a matter of public safety. I wonder if heroic Captain Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger and his crew could have performed as they did after seven, nine or even 12 hours on the tarmac?" Hanni asked.

FlyersRights.org has been lobbying Congress to pass an Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights. The group claims to be the fastest growing coalition of airline passengers, with more than 21,000 members.

To see the full report card, click here.

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