The Federal Government has decided to regulate how much time an airline can have a airplane full of passengers wait on the tarmac. In all the years I have flown, the worst tarmac wait I have had has been around an hour. But, we have all heard of the ridiculously long waits some passengers have had to endure. What is it? 6 hours with no food or air conditioning on a JetBlue plane in New York. I am sure the government will do an absolutely fabulous job at regulating tarmac waits. After all look at all the other things they have done a great job regulating – Social Security, Border to Mexico, the TSA, Deep Water Oil Rigs…
There has been a some talk by analysts on the possibility that airlines will choose to cancel flights and pay refunds to passengers rather than the heavy fines the government will charge. I am no expert, but if I was the operations manager for an airline and I had the choice to pay an average $400 to each passenger and arrange to fly them on alternate flights or pay five figures to the government, per passenger, I am pretty sure which one I will choose.
In the meanwhile, here a few things you can do to kill time while waiting on the tarmac. Remember, unless the flight crew knows that it is an extended wait, they will not turn off the ‘No Electronic Device’ sign. For someone like me, that is torture. Here goes:
1. Read a book
Works only if you are a luddite and still read books made of chopped trees. No eReaders allowed.
2. Read the airline magazine
Works only on the first flight on that airline for the month. For frequent travelers, they should change magazines every week or have other airlines’ magazines available.
3. Browse the Airline Mall magazine
I recently read this hilarious post by Srinivas Rao of Flighster.com on the 10 most useless things in the SkyMall magazine. Oh, there are many more than 10. ‘Yes honey, I am sure the neighbors cannot top the Yeti in our backyard’.
4. Make conversation with your fellow passengers
In know, radical. I need all your support as I overcome this challenge. Anyone has the number of Mel Gibson’s therapist?
5. Read the aircraft safety guide
It’s only fun if they replace them with the ones from Fight Club.
Warning: Ambien only works for flight LONGER than seven hours.
7. Hum the ‘Jeopardy’ tune, loudly
Oh, did I just ruin your day. How long will that be stuck in your head?
Get a pen and paper, if available without undoing your seat belt. Be sure not to draw anything that may make the Air Marshal in the seat next to you nervous.
9. Try to decipher ‘Inception’
So what happens again if you don’t wake up in the dream inside a dream, inside a dream, inside a dream, inside a dream? If you ask me, the wait on the tarmac is the real ‘limbo’. Time certainly passes 20 times slower.
10. Make this list
Made it on a napkin while waiting on the tarmac at New York LaGuardia (LGA) this afternoon.
Fly often, fly safe, arrive on time and always get upgraded…