Delay guidelines don't offer much help to stranded flyers

WASHINGTON, DC (NBC) - Wednesday the Air Transport Association of America said it expects full planes this holiday as airlines cut back on the number of flights.

That could mean system wide delays if there's any bad weather or unexpected circumstances.

But, passengers hoping for some type of guarantee the airlines won't leave them stranded may be out of luck.

A task force made up of airlines, airports, consumer groups and the Department of Transportation issued recommendations Wednesday but isn't requiring any action.
It has become a frequent part of air travel.
"We just sat there on the plane with no word with what was happening," said one passenger.

Hours on the tarmac, crowded planes, no food or water and even less information.
But for those hoping a government task force might get new regulations off the ground, the wait could be a long one.

In Washington Wednesday, the so called tarmac task force passed recommendations.

But after almost a year of meeting, it doesn't actually require airlines to do anything.

Critics say the 36-member task force couldn't even agree on what qualifies as a lengthy delay.

"I would say after an hour you're treading on some pretty thin ice," said one flyer.

But while passengers may be able to define "too long," the task force only makes suggestions like update passengers delayed on runways every 30 minutes, make refreshments available and make reasonable efforts to keep bathrooms useable.

Passenger rights advocate Kate Hanni was the one vote against the guidelines.

"What it doesn't contain is an specificity regarding getting passengers out of metal tubes," said Hanni with the Coalition for an Airline Passenger Bill of Rights.

But representatives of the airline industry said some recommendations are already being adopted.

Evidence, quote, not every problem requires a new law.

With the holiday rush just two weeks away millions of Americans could be about to test that theory.

Do you have a airline delay horror story? Let us know in the comments section below.

Posted by Logan Smith