The International Airline Passengers Association (IAPA) moved to clarify its position on the Department of Transportation (DOT) Tarmac Delays Task Force. Citing reports in the press that may have presented a “different and incomplete picture of [its] position," IAPA stressed that it applauds the leadership exhibited by DOT in mandating this important air service initiative. The action was specifically intended to bring attention to, and relief for, air passengers involved in lengthy onboard and ground delays, IAPA said in a statement. The IAPA has 400,000 members.
“IAPA is very encouraged that a passenger-comes-first initiative was undertaken by a cabinet-level agency, drawing greater focus on passenger service,” said David Stamey, IAPA’s representative for consumer and travel industry affairs. "We’re pleased that a model foundation has been laid for concrete policies and standards that airports, airlines and government agencies can follow in order to ease a passenger’s distress during long delays. It’s an important and necessary first step, and we expect that our collective work will serve as the model for action by all responsible parties."
“U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Tarmac Delays Task Force is an effort designed to outline standards and processes for easing passenger inconvenience and discomfort during lengthy ground delays," IAPA said in a statement. "The task force initiative, which included representatives from airports, airlines, consumer groups and government agencies, convened to identify and recommend specific passenger needs and customer service policy standards."
IAPA was selected to participate on the task force last April.
The resulting document, to be submitted to Transportation Secretary Mary Peters for consideration, creates a comprehensive set of communication standards and passenger needs that each vested party can use to effectively recognize passenger concerns and service needs during lengthy airport and tarmac delays, the IAPA said. Among the key service improvements recommended by the task force are:
* Greater integration of situational awareness information and services between airports, airlines, agencies and other service providers during delay events
* Access to food and facilities for passengers onboard aircraft or in the terminal
* Regular updates regarding delay status and passenger options
* Increased availability of airport and government agency services to properly accommodate passengers on diverted flights
* Ensuring that airport concessionaires and operations personnel remain accessible during lengthy ground delays.