Following what was, by all accounts, an extremely ugly four-hour wait on a Virign Atlantic flight from London stranded in Connecticut, the successful consumer advocacy group FlyersRights.org is joining others in asking the Department of Transportation to include international flights in the “3 Hour Rule” that passed recently.
The group urged DOT to include international flights operating in the U.S. under the new rule that allows stranded passengers to deplane after 3 hours on the tarmac. Consumer groups have also requested that DOT ensure that international flights keep air conditioning on during strandings, as domestic flights are now required to do.
“Given the horrific, inhumane and dangerous situation that took place on the Virgin Atlantic Flight last night, DOT must step in immediately to include international flights in the 3 Hour and Air Conditioning Rules,” said Kate Hanni, Executive Director of FlyersRights.org. “Numerous passengers were hospitalized after being exposed for over four hours to temperatures well over 100 degrees- we are fortunate there were no fatalities.”
According to news reports, and accounts by passengers aboard the flight who contacted FlyersRights.org, hundreds of Newark-bound passengers were stuck for four hours on the tarmac in extreme temperatures, with no air conditioning, after weather diverted their flight from London to Connecticut.
Reports and accounts confirm that the aircraft’s generators shut down, leaving passengers with no air conditioning and sweltering temperatures that reached 100 degrees. Passengers were refused the right to deplane, despite their repeated requests to do so. According to eye witness accounts, several passengers lost consciousness due to the heat and had to be hospitalized.
While the DOT is currently investigating the incident the airline has not commented.
What is your impression of this rule? Is there a good reason to keep everyone on board in this type of emergency situation?
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