White House Probes Minn. Plane Stranding

Incident 'troubling': transportation sec.
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 12, 2009 6:43 AM CDT
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.,right, speaks on the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor on Capitol Hil July 9, 2009.   (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The Obama administration is investigating last weekend’s 9-hour stranding of 47 passengers on a Minnesota airport tarmac, the AP reports. Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood says his department's general counsel is determining whether laws were broken in the case. “While we don't yet have all the facts, this incident as reported is very troubling,” says LaHood. The situation may fuel pending legislation that limits tarmac waits.

“Despite repeated assurances by the airlines that federal legislation is unnecessary to protect passengers from lengthy tarmac delays, these incidents continue to remind us that voluntary standards agreed to by the airlines are inadequate and often unacknowledged,” said Sens. Barbara Boxer and Olympia Snowe, who are sponsoring the measure.