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FAA's Plan to Prevent Travel Season Nightmares

The FAA hopes new measures will help keep airplanes and airports flowing throughout the upcoming travel season. 

The Federal Aviation Administration is taking steps to make sure Winter travel season isn't a nightmare for passengers. 

The FAA is proposing to airlines and airports to do the following to ensure smooth operations:

  • Create a webpage monitored by the FAA where airports can continuously update passengers on delays. That way, airlines can decide which airports they want to send diverted flights based on available personnel and equipment. 
  • Expand FAA-hosted teleconferences with airlines to also include airports. Having airport officials join the conversation will inform officials about weather-related problems and other difficulties that will affect the flow of air traffic. 
  • Create a system that will better identify diverted flights. This would heighten situational awareness about the potential congestion on the ground at airports and for planes in the air that run low on fuel.
The Transportation Department also has rules that limits the time passengers can sit on the tarmac to three hours. After three hours, passengers must be allowed to get off the plane and return to the terminal. Airlines that exceed the limit faces up to $27,500 in fines per passenger. 
Federal Aviation Administrator Randy Babbitt thinks that with these changes, the FAA "can act fast" in bad weather situations. 
These measures are being taken after passengers were trapped on plans for hours at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut in late October. Travelers were stuck on planes during a snow storm, some up to seven hours.  A lot of the chaos could have been lessened with better communication among airlines, airports and air traffic controllers, Babbitt said. 
The Associated Press contributed reporting to this story. 
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