Thursday, December 16, 2010

Stuck on the Tarmac Survival - Part 1 of 3

Last weekend my flight from Reagan National (DCA) in Washington, DC to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) was stuck on the tarmac for over an hour. This reminded me on how prepared one should be for this specific kind of delay to one's travel plans.

I barely made my connection in DFW right as that flight had just begun boarding. But there are some things the traveler can do in advance to help alleviate the problem.

- If your flight plans require a connection, then carefully consider the connection time. Many of us just want to get where we're heading to. But consider that the two connecting flights may not be in the same terminal also. I normally choose the connection that has at least a one hour layover. This also allows to take care of personal things such as grabbing something to eat, stretch one's legs or to just use a normal size restroom.

- Consider the airlines on-time performance for that particular flight. The time of day is sometimes a factor not to mention that some airports are notorious for delays.

- Have the telephone numbers of the airlines in your reservation, especially one that connects you to customer service. If you are in a panic, then you can call the airline from your seat. Since the flight has not taken off and the flight attendants are also strapped to their seats, no one's going to ding you for using the phone.

- Check the airlines policy online regarding tarmac and other types of delays.

- Have something to do that you want to do. Leafing through an airline magazine from the seat back pocket will do no good if you had no intention of reading it. Since the plane has not taken off, some electronic items such as phones and tablets should help have hours of features to mind the time.

Part 2 posts info about the DOT ruling regarding tarmac delays.
Part 3 posts more info about dealing with tarmac delays.


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