The US Airways Contingency Plan for Lengthy Tarmac Delays is the result of new rules put forth by the U.S. Department of Transportation to address airline service during conditions that result in long on-board delays for passengers. This Contingency Plan is explicitly separate from and not a part of US Airways' Contract of Carriage.
US Airways fully complies with all U.S. Department of Transportation rules regarding lengthy tarmac delays. Our Contingency Plan is intended to provide you with information regarding US Airways' policies and procedures for handling your travel on our airline in the event of a lengthy ground delay for your aircraft.
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, US Airways will not permit an aircraft to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours.** Prior to reaching three hours, US Airways will return the aircraft to the gate, or another suitable disembarkation point, where passengers will be allowed to deplane.
- For international flights departing from or arriving at a U.S. airport, US Airways will not permit an aircraft to remain on the tarmac for more than four hours.** Prior to reaching four hours, US Airways will return the aircraft to the gate, or another suitable disembarkation point, where passengers will be allowed to deplane.
** Delays longer than these time limits may be necessary if (i) 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 (ii) 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, US Airways 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 by running an engine or the APU during a delay on an aircraft movement area, or by using ground power and conditioned air during a delay on a gate or remote parking area
- Ensure passengers on the delayed flight will receive notifications regarding the status of the delay every thirty minutes while the aircraft is delayed, including the reasons for the tarmac delay, if known
- Ensure passengers on the delayed flight will be notified beginning thirty minutes after scheduled departure time (including any revised departure time passengers were notified of before boarding), and every thirty (30) minutes thereafter that they have the opportunity to deplane from an aircraft at the gate or another disembarkation area with the door open, if the opportunity to deplane actually exists
US Airways has taken steps to ensure sufficient resources are available to implement this Contingency Plan for Lengthy Tarmac Delays, when it is necessary to do so.
To better serve passengers, US Airways has coordinated this Contingency Plan for Lengthy Tarmac Delays with:
- Local airport authorities (including terminal facility operators, where applicable) at each airport served by US Airways, as well as US Airways' regular diversion airports;
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), at each airport regularly used by US Airways for international flights, as well as US Airways' regular diversion airports for international flights; and
- U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA), at each airport served by US Airways, as well as US Airways' regular diversion airports.
In an emergency, US Airways will make its best efforts to assist other carriers, including sharing facilities and making gates available.
These efforts include:
- Providing assistance to other carriers during tarmac delay situations, as requested by the other carrier or by local airport authorities;
- Ensuring other carriers and local airport authorities have proper contact information to request assistance for gates, remote parking, ground equipment, and personnel; and
- Making every effort to accommodate requests for gates and parking, including, when possible, moving US Airways aircraft off of a gate to make it available for other carrier aircraft.