For those of us who use or travel through Denver International Airport we are truly fortunate concerning arrival and departure delays. During the month of December 2010 when early winter weather was causing havoc across the continental United States, we were fortunate ranking 18th most delayed airport concerning departures (25% or 1 out of 4 delayed, Chicago’s Midway was worst with 50%+ delayed) and 26th concerning delays upon arrival with just under 22% effected (with San Francisco the worst with 44%+ delayed).
While delays inbound and outbound are frustrating, the reauthorization of the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights may provide some relief. The most popular provision of the bill is the so-called “three-hour rule,” which requires airlines to give passengers the option of returning to the terminal if they have been stuck on a plane on a tarmac for longer than three (3) hours.
The bill also includes a few additional provisions. One provision will require airlines to develop contingency plans — approved by the Federal Aviation Administration — to ensure that passengers are provided with adequate food, water and restrooms, and allowed to deplane in the event of a lengthy tarmac delay.
The “No Child is Left Unbuckled” amendment may be most appreciated by parents and adult guardians traveling with young children. The amendment would require air carriers to post up front the dimensions of a child safety seat that can be used on each aircraft operated by the air carrier to enable passengers to determine which child safety seats can be used on those aircraft.
For those traveling with young children, this provision is most appreciated. Few passengers know that seat dimensions vary by aircraft even within the airline brand. A site of interest concerning seat dimensions is www.SeatGuru.com which not only provides accurate seat dimensions but also highlights the seats to select or avoid i.e. no recline, limited leg room and so forth.
While the No Child is Left Unbuckled amendment is a step in the right direction, it is best to contact the airlines. For example on a recent Turkish Airlines flight between Istanbul and New York City I was impressed with the crew who provided an elevated bassinette attached to the bulkhead frame in coach. For the parents with the infant, the option of being able to place the baby in their own sleeping area was most welcoming.
For those traveling with children two and under, one can choose to have their child as a lap-child (usually fee free) or to buy their child a seat (may be discounted depending on the carrier). When buying the child a seat it is best to be aware of the dimensions allowed concerning a safety-seat or you may be surprised with a gate-side check-in.