The US Dept. of Transportation yesterday announced a final ruling forcing US airlines to deplane passengers after a 3-hr. delay under most circumstances, among other consumer-friendly provisions, which the Air Transport Assn. said would lead to unfavorable "unintended consequences." The August stranding incident in Minnesota, which resulted in a combined $175,000 in fines levied against Continental Airlines, ExpressJet Airlines and Mesaba Airlines (ATWOnline, Nov. 25), was the final straw ...

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