When the US Dept. of Transportation implemented its tarmac delay rule in April 2010, the airline industry warned that the government was using a flamethrower to kill a mosquito and that the cure would be much worse than the disease as far as air travelers were concerned. Extended tarmac delays were a rarity, the industry pointed out, averaging just 1 in 1,000 flights in June 2009 based on airline schedule data filed with DOT. By mandating a 3-hr. limit after which aircraft must return ...

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