Providing for the essential needs of our customers during flight irregularities is a key component of our customer service philosophy and commitment. Accordingly, we have adopted the following Contingency Plan for our scheduled flights and our public charter flights.
Every American Airlines, US Airways, Envoy, PSA and Piedmont U.S. airport team has a comprehensive contingency plan in place to respond to lengthy tarmac delays. Each plan ensures we will have adequate resources available, and designates a control person to coordinate the activities of the local team, as well as to communicate with our central operations center.
At each U.S. airport we serve, or regularly use for diversions, we have coordinated our plans with local airport authorities and the Transportation Security Administration. Additionally, we coordinate with U.S. Customs and Border Protection at each U.S. airport regularly used for international flights, including diversion airports.
This Contingency Plan is explicitly separate from and not a part of these carriers’ contract of carriage.
Limits of lengthy onboard ground delays
Lengthy onboard ground delays can take place both during taxi-out prior to departure and during taxi-in after landing. During both of these phases of travel, the following limits apply:
- For domestic flights, American Airlines, US Airways, Envoy, PSA and Piedmont will not permit an aircraft to remain on the tarmac at a U.S. airport for more than three hours.
- For international flights departing from or arriving at a U.S. airport, American Airlines, US Airways, Envoy, PSA and Piedmont will not permit an aircraft to remain on the tarmac at a U.S. airport for more than four hours.
Delays longer than these time limits may be necessary if:
- The pilot-in-command determines there is a safety related or security related reason why the aircraft cannot leave its position on the tarmac to deplane passengers, or;
- Air traffic control advises the pilot-in-command that returning to the gate or another disembarkation point elsewhere in order to deplane passengers would significantly disrupt airport operations.
Passenger services during a lengthy onboard ground delay
For all flights experiencing a lengthy ground delay at a U.S. airport, American Airlines, US Airways, Envoy, PSA and Piedmont will:
- Provide passengers with adequate food and potable water no later than two hours after the aircraft leaves the gate (in the case of departure) or touches down (in the case of arrival) if the aircraft remains on the tarmac, unless the pilot-in-command determines that safety or security considerations preclude such service.
- Ensure that operable lavatory facilities will remain available while the aircraft remains on the tarmac.
- Ensure adequate medical attention is available, if needed, while the aircraft remains on the tarmac.
- Ensure a comfortable cabin temperature is maintained.
- Ensure passengers on the delayed flight will receive notifications regarding the status of the delay every 30 minutes while the aircraft is delayed, including the reasons for the tarmac delay, if known.
- Notify passengers on a delayed flight beginning 30 minutes after the scheduled departure time (including any revised departure time that passengers were notified about before boarding) and every 30 minutes thereafter that they have the opportunity to deplane from an aircraft that is at the gate or another disembarkation area with the door open, if the opportunity to deplane actually exists.
At American Airlines, US Airways, Envoy, PSA and Piedmont, the safety and comfort of our customers is always an important priority, especially during flight delays. We are confident our contingency plans will lessen your inconvenience.