O'Hare storms highlight problems with 3-hour rule on tarmac delays

06/30/2010 | Chicago Tribune (tiered subscription model)

Despite months of planning, airlines at Chicago O'Hare still experience confusion and tension when bad weather threatens to extend flight delays beyond the three-hour federal limit. Airport construction and chronic gate shortages leave airlines with few options for de-planing passengers, the Chicago Tribune reports. For instance, heavy rain and 70 mph winds resulted in long lines for takeoff and hundreds of cancellations. American Airlines Flight 1442 waited in line for two hours before heading back to the terminal, but a glut of other aircraft left only a nine-minute margin before fines of up to $27,500 per passenger would have been levied.

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