Those tarmac-delay rules are going to take effect a week from today after all. The U.S. Department of Transportation just announced it had turned down requests by airlines to be exempted this year from tough new rules for treating passengers and returning to the terminal when flights would be delayed on an airport tarmac for three hours or more.
US Airways had made one of the five requests, for an exemption for PHL, because of runway construction at New York's JFK Airport and the fact PHL shares airspace with the NY-area airports. The other airlines had requested exemptions for JFK, LaGuardia and Newark. Background on the issue can be found in my April 5 Winging It column. US Airways already has said it has made plans to return to the terminal any flight that was delayed by 2 1/2 hours.