“You know as well as I do that five minutes always extends out to 50 minutes, and almost always to five hours. There’s no such thing as five minutes, never, ever.”
That’s heroic transportation secretary Ray LaHood, speaking The Truth about new penalties for airlines who keep customers trapped on grounded planes for three hours or more. (A reporter had asked LaHood what would happen if air traffic control told a pilot that takeoff clearance would be in five minutes, but that would put it over the three-hour limit.)
What are the new penalties?
Under the rules, airlines that fail to provide food and water after two hours or a chance to disembark after three hours will face penalties of $27,500 a passenger, the secretary of transportation announced on Monday.
A transportation secretary who tells it like it is, and fines so steep that they might actually have an effect on the industry they’re meant to regulate? Will wonders never cease? Go Big Ray!
The new rules take effect in 120 days.