UPDATE: Allegiant Passengers Hit with Tarmac Delays Break into Song

It was hot in Las Vegas over the weekend (108 degrees on Sunday) so imagine being there on a plane on that broiling tarmac with no air conditioning. Then imagine sitting there for more than an hour. Then imagine getting transferred to a second plane and doing it all over again. It got worse as you’ll see – but some passengers tried to look on the bright side and even broke into to song with a rousing rendition of, “I Believe I Can Fly” (see the video below).

Spirit’s 19-hour ‘hell flight’

Allegiant – Two Delays with No A/C

According to a report from Fox 10 in Phoenix (which is where the flight was traveling to), one of the passengers on the delayed Allegiant flight said people were passing out in the aisle and at least one person began vomiting and she also indicated there wasn’t any water available. The eye witness also noted that since it was a Vegas flight, “typically everybody’s, you know, hungover” which if true surely didn’t help matters. After what was said to be an hour-and-a-half tarmac wait, the passengers were allowed to deplane and were later put on another plane that was also idle for as much as an hour or more and also had air conditioning issues.

FareCompare has contacted Allegiant for their version of events and will update with any response. Meanwhile, the airline’s second plane eventually got its issues sorted out somehow but not before departing roughly five hours later than scheduled.

What the 3 Hour Rule Does and Doesn’t Do

If this happens to you, there are limits on what you can do. Here’s what the Department of Transportation’s three-hour rule requires of the airlines:

  • After two hours: Airline must provide adequate food and water
  • After three hours: Passengers must be allowed to deplane
  • After three hours: Airlines face fines of up to $27,500 per passenger

Don’t Look for Airline Freebies

Unfortunately, that can still leave you stuck on a plane that’s not going anywhere for a significant amount of time. Once you get off the plane, don’t expect freebies. As the DOT’s Consumer Guide to Air Travel notes, “there are no federal requirements” that airlines offer food or even lodging vouchers. However, some do so be sure to ask – you might get lucky.

Delays, Cancelations – What You Should Do

Fortunately lengthy tarmac delays are becoming a thing of the past as many airlines pro-actively delay or even cancel flights rather than risk the huge fines associated with passengers trapped on the tarmac. If you’re in the airport, your goal is to be on the next available flight out:

Contact your airline via social media, especially Twitter: More and more airlines have teams of marketing personnel monitor these channels and may provide the fastest assistance since they don’t like being shamed on social media

Get in line: Find an airline rep and get in line. While you’re in line, look up alternate routes even those on other airlines. Whatever help you can provide the agent will make it easier to get you in another seat

Get on the phone: Do this while you’re in line, since you never know which method will be the quickest

See some of the passengers entertain themselves with a sing-along (everyone joins in at :55).


Published: June 10, 2013