Airports are scrambling to develop plans to deal with the unexpected arrival of planes, especially during bad weather, to keep passengers from being stuck for hours on their tarmacs.
Airlines have long had plans for where to send planes when routes are blocked by weather or planes suffer mechanical problems. They face huge fines if they keep passengers waiting on the tarmac for three or four hours.
But after some passengers sat for more than seven hours on the tarmac at Hartsford, Conn. during an Oct. 29 snowstorm, Congress ordered all the nation's airports to submit plans to the Transportation Department for dealing with diverted planes.
Those plans are due May 14, and must include how the airport will provide for getting passengers off planes after long tarmac delays, how they'll share facilities and make gates available during an emergency, and how they'll provide a secure area for international passengers who haven't cleared immigration and customs.
Courtesy of USA Today