Tarmac Delay Policy Chart

George Hobica, March 25, 2009
Fares from Washington DC:
    Airline Policy Goes Into Effect After a Delay of... Status Updates Food, Water, Lavatories & Medical Care "Light at the End of the Tunnel" Clause Compensation
    Airtran Not Specified  "will provide the best information available to us"

    "refreshements available on request"

    "ensure that lavatories remain serviceable"

    "professional medical assistance made available if necessary" 

    Mentions deplaning.

    Doesn't specify time-frame. 

    None Mentioned 
    Alaska

     Taxi-out: (before take-off) Over 1.5 hours

    Taxi-in: (after landing) Over 1 hr

    "At least every 30 minutes" 

    "aircraft servicing (lavatory service and/or catering services) may be arranged if recommended by the flight crew" 

    "flight crew has access to medical professionals, via MedLink, a contracted medical advisory service"

    "It is always our intent to deplane within an hour of the time a contingency plan is activated and never more than two hours after your arrival."  For a delay of more than 2 hours you get frequent flyer miles, but not if the delay is due to weather, air traffic control, or "extraordinary circumstance beyond our control"
    Allegiant Not Specified Not Specified  Not Specified  Not Specified None Mentioned
    American

    Taxi-out: Over 2 hours

    Taxi-in: Over 2 hours

    Not Specified "food (snack bar such as a Nutri-Grain) water, restroom facilities and basic medical assistance" Not Specified  None Mentioned
    Continental

    Taxi-out: Over 2 hours

    Taxi-in: Over 2 hours

    Every 20 minutes "adequate food, potable water, adequate restroom facilities and access to necessary medical treatment"  2-3 hour delay results in initiating gate return and deplaning  None Mentioned
    Delta

    Taxi-out: Over 2 hours

    Taxi-in: Over 1 hour 

    "will make timely announcements" 

    "snacks, beverages"

    "make every reasonable effort to ensure aircraft is properly serviced" 

    Mentions deplaning.

    Doesn't specify time-frame. 

    None Mentioned

    (unless free headsets and in-flight entertainment count) 

    Frontier

    Not Specified

    Not Specified "make every possible effort to provide food, water, restroom facilities and access to medical treatment" Not Specified  None Mentioned
    JetBlue

    Taxi-out: Over 3 hours

    Taxi-in: Over 1 hour

    Not Specified  "food, drink, access to clean restrooms and as necessary, medical treatment" Will take necessary action to deplane for delays over 5 hours Issues vouchers for future travel that increase in value with the increase of the length of the delay 
    Northwest

    Taxi-out: Over 5 minutes past scheduled departure

    Taxi-in: Over 1 hour

    Every 15 minutes

    Not Specified

    When a taxi-out reaches 3 hours, gate return is initiated.

    When a taxi-in reaches 1 hour, "event recovery plan" is initiated. 

    Issues "service recovery packets," which can include frequent flyer miles or a travel discount certificate, as well as meal vouchers. Values increase for longer delays. 
    Spirit Not Specified  Not Specified "may provide limited amenities and services, which may be required by certain passengers in order to maintain their safety, health and welfare... provided as a courtesy and are not to be considered an obligation"  Not Specified  None Mentioned
    Southwest

    Taxi-out: Over 2 hours

    Taxi-in: Over 2 hours

    "will provide the best information available to us"

    "Refreshments available on request"

    "make every reasonable effort to ensure that lavatories remain serviceable:

    "professional medical assistance... if necessary"

    Mentions deplaning.

    Doesn't specify time-frame.

    None Mentioned
    United

    Taxi-out: Over 3 hours

    Taxi-in: Over 1 hour

    "best available information... in a timely manner" "provide food, water, restroom facilities and access to medical treatment"  Not Specified  For taxi-out delays over 4 hours and taxi-in delays over 1.5 hours, discount travel certificates are issued. 
    US Airways

    Taxi-out:  1 hour

    Taxi-in: Not Specified

    Will start to update you at 5 minutes "provide food, water, restroom facilities and access to medical treatment"  "At 3 hours, information about the flight is escalated through US Airways' senior operations management for a decision about returning to the gate."  None Mentioned
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