Stranded Passengers “Lost in Space” as FAA Considers Flight “On Time”

NAPA, CA (August 31) – Passengers were held onboard a delayed Delta Airlines flight #8601, from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport bound for Paris Thursday night, but the Federal Aviation Administration’s records show that the incident didn’t happen.

FlyersRights.org, America’s largest non-profit consumer organization representing airline passengers, learned of the problem on Thursday night from a passenger who called the group’s emergency Hotline, 877-359-3776.

The caller reported that passengers boarded Delta flight 8601, operated by Air France, at approximately 3:30 PM on Thursday, but had not departed five hours later. The passenger claimed that the crew had provided water to the passengers “like 4 hours ago,” but “nothing other than that.”

A recording of the call is available from Kate@flyersrights.org.

Since the passengers’ ordeal occurred on an international flight, it went unrecorded by the FAA or the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics. DOT and FAA statistics do not include tarmac delays on any of the approximately 1.2 million international flights originating or arriving in the United States each year.

The FAA’s data feed through flightstats claims the status of Delta Flight 8601 is “unknown,” while the same data feed through FAA lists it as “on time.”

Both the passengers’ Message and FAA data feeds are available on the FlyersRights.org website at Flyersrights.org link to blog spot.

“When the commercial airline industry claims that tarmac delays are ‘rare’ and ‘affect only a handful of passengers,’ it’s a lie,” says FlyersRights.org founder and Executive Director Kate Hanni. “Their lobbyists have made sure that neither delays on international flights nor those on small regional carriers are counted, even though they represent fully half of the flights in the United States each day.”

Hanni called on Congress to incorporate the bipartisan Boxer-Snowe Airline Passengers Bill of Rights into any extension of the FAA’s authorization when it returns to Washington next week.

The legislation, Hanni said, would give passengers the option of getting off aircraft which are stranded on the tarmac for longer than 3 hours.

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TEL: 202-494-6105
EMAIL: mikecollinspr@cox.net

Flightstats FAA Data Feed. Passengers states they boarded at 3:30 and did not depart until 9:30 p.m.


Flight: (DL) Delta Air Lines 8601
Operated by (AF) Air France 23
Departure Date: Thu Aug 27, 2009
Status: Unknown Status

Aug 27 4:33 PM Airline Gate Adjustment AEQP Changed To 772

Aug 27 5:02 PM FAA Time Adjustment Estimated Runway Arrival Changed From 08/28/09 05:04 AM To 08/28/09 05:07 AM

Aug 27 7:51 PM FAA Time Adjustment Estimated Runway Arrival Changed From 08/28/09 05:07 AM To 08/28/09 05:06 AM

Aug 27 8:53 PM Airline STATUS-Active Actual Gate Departure Changed To 08/27/09 04:30 PM
Estimated Gate Arrival Changed To 08/28/09 05:23 AM
Status Changed From Scheduled To Active

Aug 27 9:39 PM Airline Time Adjustment Estimated Gate Departure Changed To 08/27/09 06:30 PM

Aug 27 10:25 PM FAA Time Adjustment Estimated Runway Departure Changed From 08/27/09 05:03 PM To 08/27/09 07:33 PM
Estimated Runway Arrival Changed From 08/28/09 05:06 AM To 08/28/09 07:36 AM

Aug 28 6:06 PM FlightHistory STATUS-Unknown Status Changed From Active To Unknown

Aug 28 6:06 PM FlightHistory Final Task