Panel's Recommendations Won't Help Delayed Travelers

Airlines not required to follow task force's suggestions.

A federal task force working on ways to ease the pain of travel delays released recommendations Wednesday, but airlines don't have to implement the suggestions.

The "Tarmac Task Force" recommends airlines to allow bathroom breaks on planes during long delays. The group also said passengers should get status updates every 15 minutes and refreshments on the plane while sitting on the tarmac.

But the federal panel is not requiring airlines to follow its recommendations.

Travelers said they wished the recommendations were mandatory.

"You have to pay for luggage, for water, you have to pay for snacks -- so yeah, it'd be nice," Rawd Jones said.

He said travelers have to plan for delays.

"I used to like to travel, and anymore, it just seems like it's not as much fun," Jones said.

John Finnell, a traveler at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, said he has missed a lot of business meetings because of flight delays.

"There's a lot of issues," he said. "Even traveling in the night before, you get delayed and held over."

Airlines said they are starting to adopt some of the suggestions, but travelers said they want more from the airlines.

"Maybe they can pay your night in a hotel or whatever, because it would be easier to fly the next day," Marlene Vasquez said.

Airline representatives on the task force said they need the flexibility to come up with their own response plans when a delay comes up.

The federal panel is made up of airline and airport employees, consumer groups and Department of Transportation officials.

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