Airline Passengers Aren’t Always Guaranteed a Cool Cabin on the Ground -

Airline Passengers Aren’t Always Guaranteed a Cool Cabin on the Ground

Credit: skift.com

  • About: 2 months ago
  • 8 views

Associated Press

Emily France said she and her 4-month-old son, Owen, had to suffer on a 50-seat "oven with wings" for more than an hour June 22, 2017 before the aircraft returned to the gate and passengers could get off. Associated Press



Skift Take: People love to criticize airlines. Is it possible some aircraft are too hot during boarding? Of course. But this is not a major issue, and surely there doesn't need to be a federal law to govern airline cabin temperatures. Let's count on airlines to do the right thing.

— Brian Sumers

Every day, tens of thousands of U.S. airline passengers settle into their seats, lower the window shades and reach up to twist the air vents without the benefit of something that might do even more to keep them cool: a rule setting temperature limits inside the cabin.

Airlines have their own guidelines — some allowing the mercury to hit 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) — and federal regulations cover air flow and, more generally, passenger safety and comfort.

But nowhere do authorities say how hot is too hot when a plane is sitting on the ground — a fact illustrated this summer when a mother holding her beet-red infant had to plead to be let off a broiling regional jet stuck on the tarmac at Denver International Airport.

Emily France said she and her 4-month-old son, Owen, sweltered aboard the 50-seat “oven with wings” for more than an hour June 22 before it returned to the gate and passengers were allowed off briefly.

When they re-boarded the United Airlines flight to El Paso, Texas, the cabin felt even warmer, France said. With the flight delayed again, she stripped off Owen’s clothing and applied ice bags brought by flight attendants, but his condition deteriorated.

“I heard a cry from my son that I have never heard before, and his skin looked a color that I had never seen before, and I knew he was in trouble,” she said. “Then he just stopped crying. And he went limp in my arms.”

“I said, ‘Get an ambulance and get me off the plane,'” she recalled.

She and the boy were taken away by ambulance. Doctors determined the baby suffered no lasting effects.

France said she hopes federal regulators take note, and she has hired a lawyer who specializes in airline safety law. He is demanding an explanation.

“There is no reason why heat bad enough to cause people to pass out is happening in cabins,” said the attorney, David Rapoport.

Authorities have heard complaints for years about stifling heat aboard airliners, though the Federal Aviation Administration does not keep track of how many.

To save fuel, pilots sometimes turn off the air conditioning when the plane is at the gate or taxiing, though some airports have ground AC units at the gates that pump cool air into the aircraft while it waits to push back. Sometimes the onboard air conditioning malfunctions or can’t keep up.

During the summer of 2013, several passengers on a delayed Allegiant Air flight fell ill as their plane sat on the tarmac in the blazing desert heat in Las Vegas. A month later, more than 150 Allegiant passengers were forced to sweat it out for 2½ hours in Phoenix after a maintenance problem knocked out air conditioning on the plane.

Allegiant decided in September to spend more than $1 million on six, 60-ton cooling units for use at the Las Vegas airport, said Michael Bowers, director of base operations.

The FAA declined to comment on the need for specific rules on cabin temperature when a plane is on the ground. But the agency noted in a statement that it specifies how many pounds of fresh air planes must pump through the cabin per minute and per passenger.

And it said it expects airlines to “take appropriate action if a cabin temperature condition occurs on the ground that could potentially affect passenger safety.”

The 50,000-member Association of Flight Attendants has been lobbying Congress for years to set a maximum cabin temperature of 80 degrees (27 Celsius).

“Bottom line, the airlines and regulators do not consider temperature to be a safety issue,” union spokeswoman Taylor Garland said. “Therefore, it’s low on the list of priorities when it comes to on-time departures.”

United, which was hit with bad publicity three months ago when a passenger was dragged off an overcrowded flight in Chicago, apologized to the baby’s mother but had no explanation of what went wrong.

“This should never have happened,” United spokeswoman Maggie Schmerin said. “We are profoundly sorry to our customer and her child for the experience they endured. We are actively looking into what happened to prevent this from occurring again.”

A spokeswoman for Trans States Airlines, which operated the flight for United, did not respond to a request for comment.

United already requires flight crews to keep the cabin comfortable during delays, but the policy does not mention a specific temperature. Schmerin said that as temperatures rise this summer, United will make sure air conditioning is running while planes are parked at gates or taxiing.

This article was written by Thomas Peipert from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.



Follow Us on Twitter

Related stories with Airline Passengers Aren’t Always Guaranteed a Cool Cabin on the Ground

Mr. CEO: Tray Matthews leads by example for Auburn football after rocky start to career -World News
Mr. CEO: Tray Matthews leads by example for Auburn football after rocky start to career 2 months ago
HOOVER, Ala. — Tray Matthews entered SEC Media Days for Auburn football with several huge titles in front of his name. “Tray is our defensive leader,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said Thursday. “He’s probably our team leader.”
2018 BMW 8 Series Convertible on the Nurburgring -World News
2018 BMW 8 Series Convertible on the Nurburgring 2 months ago
The second model of the new BMW 8 Series range – the convertible – was just spotted on the Nurburgring. Set for introduction in 2019, … The article 2018 BMW 8 Series Convertible on the Nurburgring appeared first on BMW BLOG
Alpine White BMW F80 M3 on HRE R101LW Wheels -World News
Alpine White BMW F80 M3 on HRE R101LW Wheels 2 months ago
All white on white. That’s what best describes this BMW F80 M3 build by TAG Motorsports. This Alpine White BMW M3 features a set of … The article Alpine White BMW F80 M3 on HRE R101LW Wheels appeared first on BMW BLOG
A Skydiver Told His Wife He Wasn’t Going to Pull Parachute Cord. She Arrived ‘Moments’ Too Late -World News
A Skydiver Told His Wife He Wasn’t Going to Pull Parachute Cord. She Arrived ‘Moments’ Too Late 2 months ago
The wife of a veteran skydiver raced to the field where her husband was planning to jump after he sent her a video saying that he was not going to pull the ripcord on his parachute – but she was arrived just moments too late. Capotorto Vitantonio, 2
Muppet Promotes Respect for Women in Male-Dominant Afghanistan -World News
Muppet Promotes Respect for Women in Male-Dominant Afghanistan 2 months ago
Last year, Afghanistan's version of "Sesame Street" introduced a little girl character aimed at inspiring girls in the deeply conservative Muslim nation. Now a new muppet is joining the cast: her brother, who will show boys the importance of respecting wo
Egypt Knife Attacker First Sat and Talked With His Victims -World News
Egypt Knife Attacker First Sat and Talked With His Victims 2 months ago
Leaving them for dead, 29-year-old Abdel-Rahman Shaaban fled the scene
Your move, Nitish: Image or power? -World News
Your move, Nitish: Image or power? 2 months ago
When he did not turn up, his name plate was covered with paper and quietly removed before the program commenced.
Daenerys Targaryen, here’s some advice from political science as you pursue the Iron Throne -World News
Daenerys Targaryen, here’s some advice from political science as you pursue the Iron Throne 2 months ago
So you might have heard that “Game of Thrones” returns for Season 7 on HBO this Sunday. Season 6 ended with insurgent Daenerys Targaryen (The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, Khaleesi, Breaker of Chains, etc.) departing at long last for W
PSA: You might want to look up at the sky on Sunday night -World News
PSA: You might want to look up at the sky on Sunday night 2 months ago
If you're free on Sunday night and you live within a certain range of northern latitudes, you might want to look out a window.  Meteorologists are predicting an aurora borealis, or northern lights show.  Do you live where the #Aurora may be v
Tennis star Kim Clijsters invites Wimbledon spectator to put on a skirt and play -World News
Tennis star Kim Clijsters invites Wimbledon spectator to put on a skirt and play 2 months ago
Tennis star Kim Clijsters certainly doesn't need suggestions from the Wimbledon stands. But when one overzealous spectator couldn't help but shout advice, she took the opportunity to have some fun. During a doubles match on Friday, Clijsters asked h
Congrats to this clever mama raccoon who broke into a car to give birth -World News
Congrats to this clever mama raccoon who broke into a car to give birth 2 months ago
No one wants their car broken into, but sometimes you gotta give credit where credit is due.  Consider, for example, this mother raccoon, who climbed through a plastic window cover and tumbled into the backseat of a parked convertible at an auto sh
Neill Blomkamp uses YouTube, Twitter, Steam to fuel new sci-fi series -World News
Neill Blomkamp uses YouTube, Twitter, Steam to fuel new sci-fi series 2 months ago
There's a new sci-fi series out that's must-view material, but it's not the new season of Black Mirror. This one is from none other than film director Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium, Chappie).  SEE ALSO: The bananas story of the 5 failed a