Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood blogged today on his concerns about the Continental/Expressjet passenger stranding that is prompting so many headlines this week. In this blog, LaHood outlines DOT’s reasons for writing to Continental demanding answers. Apparently, information from these answers will be used to help DOT in its tarmac delay rulemaking process.
Regarding the DOT letter, LaHood says “basically, we want to know what I think all of us [i.e. the flying public] want to know.” It asks the following (summarized by LaHood):
- Why the flight was diverted to Rochester, Minnesota, in particular;
- Which carrier, Continental or Express Jet, was responsible for the well-being of the passengers and, in particular, which carrier’s contingency plan was implemented during the tarmac delay;
- Whether Continental/ExpressJet had in place at Rochester procedures regarding the deplaning of passengers on diverted flights at diversion airports without TSA presence and if not, why not;
- Whether such procedures were implemented with respect to flight 2816 and if not, why not;
- Why flight 2816 was forced to stay on the ground at Rochester for as long as it did; and
- An explanation of the passenger’s treatment during the delay, including once they were inside the airport terminal.
Notably, it also asks Continental for similar information about other recent delays.