New limit on tarmac time for air travelers

    The FAA has approved a new regulation designed to reduce that time passengers are left stuck on a plane on the tarmac.

    Being held captive on the tarmac can damage more than your mood. The health risks of sitting in one place for a long time can be aggravated by getting stuck on the ground in a motionless airplane.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091222mpplane.mp3]

    A new FAA regulation requires airlines to allow passengers to deplane after three hours on the tarmac and imposes a fine if they don’t. Edward Dench is a Pennsylvania doctor who has a background in aerospace engineering. He says the new regulation is critical in reducing health risks aboard planes.

    Drench: Not only is it a problem because of potential pulmonary embolisms if you develop clots in your legs if you’re restricted and can’t move, but it’s extremely uncomfortable on nerves, for example the sciatic nerve and the like, sitting in one spot where you can’t move around.

    The Air Transport Association predicts that the new rule will lead to more canceled flights and inconvenienced passengers. That’s because airlines often require travelers to stay on planes so that they can take off as soon as they get clearance.

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