As expected, some passengers freaked out about their connecting flights, but were quickly assured that since no flight could go in or out of O'Hare at the moment, that their next flights were just as grounded. Then we napped for a bit as our Jetblue plane hunkered down and shut off the engines to conserve fuel.
In hour two of the ordeal, we awoke to realize that heythis is a full-fledged tarmac delay. Flight attendants dutifully offered water bottles and even passed out snacks, and passengers were allowed to get up and use the restrooms. As the Jetblue captain and FAs were doing an excellent job of providing tons of information on the delay, no one was panicking or upset...yet. We relaxed and got sucked in to a marathon of "Toddlers & Tiaras" on TLC.
When it looked like we'd be approaching hour three of the tarmac delay, the crew began making preparations to return to the gate, in line with the newly-passed law prohibiting planes from keeping passengers stuck for over three hours. If they did, then they'd be fined a hefty $27,500 per passenger. As we were on a full Airbus A320 with 150 seats, the total would be $4,125,000 for a measly hour extra on the tarmac.
Back at the gate, a few passengers got restless with the situation, and the crew offered to let anyone off who wanted to re-work their travel plans. But of course, as soon as we reached the gate, O'Hare Airport reopened and air traffic control gave us the all-clear to hit the runway.
We've been stuck in some serious pre-law tarmac delays before (the worst: a Northwest flight from Detroit during a crazy storm), and we have to admit that because of the water and snacks and great dissemination of information, this delay was a best-case scenario. For more serious delays however, the new law could make it a complete crapshow.
· The Top Five Easiest Ways to Survive a Tarmac Delay [Jaunted]
· What Travelers Need to Know About Airport Tarmac Delay Rules [Jaunted]
· Experiencing JFK Airport's Main Runway Closure From the Tarmac [Jaunted]
· Delays [Jaunted]