‘Tarmac victims’ stuck on planes for hours could sue airlines: advocate

It’s been an incredibly challenging holiday travel period due to extreme winter weather hitting many parts of the country — and this saga isn’t done yet.

An airline passenger advocate is putting together an effort aimed at potentially suing on behalf of those who were stuck on airport tarmacs for hours, at the likes of YVR and Pearson airports.

CityNews has heard from many airline passengers who were told they couldn’t get off their plane for various periods of time ranging up to 12 hours or beyond — in many cases without getting food or drink.

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Gábor Lukács with advocacy group Air Passenger Rights has set up a Facebook group called Tarmac Delay Victims — and says airlines need to be held accountable.

“Keeping passengers on the tarmac for 10, 12 hours without proper food and water, is a serious transgression,” Lukács told CityNews in an interview. “It’s a serious violation of both the air passenger protection regulations and arguably also the criminal code.”

A screenshot of a Facebook post outlining a potential law suit on behalf of airline passengers who were stuck on the tarmac for hours last week.

A passenger rights advocate is looking to take legal action against airlines on behalf of those who were stuck on the tarmac for hours (Photo screenshot via Facebook)

The extended delays at YVR in particular prompted the airport to change its policy regarding when airplanes could approach their gates.

“Even if for some reason it may be impossible to get you off from the plane right away, bring some food or water, that’s not impossible,” Lukács said. “I don’t believe it’s impossible to deliver some emergency — even just water — to the aircraft.”

Lukács’ group aims to gather stories and information from those affected, with a view to potentially launching a class action lawsuit.

Given the major weather-related issues in Vancouver and these long delays that resulted, YVR chief executive Tamara Vrooman apologized last week — acknowledging some of the delays that happened were unacceptable.

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