Tarmac Time-Limit Legislation About to Take Flight

"Every responsible airline executive I know thinks these things are an outrage," for American Airlines CEO say

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    IRVING, TX - APRIL 10: Grounded American Airlines MD-80 aircraft sit on the tarmac April 10, 2008 at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in Irving, Texas. American Airlines again canceled more than 900 flights today as part of the effort to complete inspections and repairs of faulty wiring on its MD-80 aircraft. (Photo by Rick Gershon/Getty Images)

    There will likely soon be a three-hour time limit on tarmac waits for airline passengers, but the move to aid comfort will likely come with a price: more flight cancellations.

    Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif) said legislators are "on the one-yard line" at an unofficial airline passenger's rights hearing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

    The legislation has already been approved by the House.

    The former CEO of American Airlines also backed the imposition of the time limit.

    "Every responsible airline executive I know thinks these things are an outrage," Robert Crandall told the packed room.

    Crandall said he supports legislation pending in the Senate that would require that passengers be allowed to deplane after a three-hour wait. The bill makes an exception for instances when the pilot believes the plane will take off in the next half-hour or it might be unsafe to leave the plane.

    However, he said returning passengers to terminals likely will result in more flight cancellations and modest fare increases.