DALLAS, TEXAS—Diana Duke considers herself lucky because she's never been stranded on a tarmac for more than 90- minutes.
"I was flying out of Texas actually to Virginia." Says Diana. "And I was on the tarmac for an hour and a half just watching planes go in front of us and it was a lot of fun."
And Diana isn't alone, from January to June of this year 613 planes were delayed on tarmacs for more than three hours. On Monday, the Transportation Department issued new regulations. Domestic airlines can only hold passengers on board for three hours before they have to let them off. Air Transport Association CEO James May says the new regulation will benefit no one.
"We will comply with the new rule, even though we believe it will lead to unintended consequences-more canceled flights and greater passenger inconvenience." Says May.
American Airline spokesperson Tim Smith says the new regulations will fly in the face of federal and union guidelines regarding crew work hours.
"In many cases, once a flight goes back to the gate, it often cancels instead of going to where it's ultimately scheduled to go." Says Smith.
Bestfares.com owner Tom Parsons says it's about time the DOT cracked down and he says he doesn't care about canceled flights, in fact, he wishes the DOT had issued a 90 minute ruling.
"They are doing it for their own convenience and it's about time we get some rights and now it's written in stone, it's going to cost you a bunch of money if you are going to mess around with us." Says Parsons.
A bunch of money indeed. $27,500.00 dollar fine for each passenger on board a tarmac delayed plane. Eric King and his family would cost an airline more than $137,000.00 dollars. Eric says he's on board with the new regulations.
"I think it's a good idea because I think there needs to be an incentive for airlines to treat their passengers the way they expect to be treated." Says Eric.
Or as Diane Dukes says.
"It's not fun to sit on the tarmac. Three hours is a long time, so forget that."
The new DOT regulations take effect in 120 days.