47 passengers became stranded on the tarmac in an airplane for 6 hours earlier this year. Now the stranded passengers situation may cause policy changes. Read more and see photos and video here.

stranded passengers

In an apparent misunderstanding of security procedures at Rochester International Airport in Minnesota, the travelers were stuck in a cramped plane without much food or water, and one bathroom for 6 hours. A ground worker for Mesaba airlines apparently refused to allow them to deplane because the security workers had left for the night.

Now the public wants airline travelers to have more rights with regard to being forced to remain on idle airplanes. Bill Johnson, who was on the plane in question said:

“Of course we need to have those rights. If nothing else comes of this, I’m glad it happened when it did, because it happens too much.”

Congress is reportedly working to craft legislation intended to help stranded passengers deplane when flights become badly delayed. After the Minnesota flight, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has called for an investigation, which could help set the guidelines for the new policies.

LaHood said:

“There was a complete lack of common sense here. It’s no wonder the flying public is so angry and frustrated.”

Not surprisingly, groups that represent the airlines feel that legislation would be too invasive. A spokesman for the Air Transport Association said:

“What happened in Rochester and a few other tarmac delays aren’t acceptable. We all know that. … Because this happens once in a blue moon is no reason to legislate. It’s the wrong approach to this problem.”

Those who oppose legislation claim that giving stranded passengers the right to deplane in certain situations would allow them to impose their will on others who may want to tough it out.

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that so far this year, out of 3.2 million domestic flights, only 415 were stranded for more than three hours.

Do you have an air-travel horror story? Do you know how those stranded passengers feel? Let us hear about your ordeal in the comments section below.

See the video with the actual audio from the incident below.