Rules regarding airline tarmac delays were significantly strengthened in 2010, with the Department of Transportation establishing a hard time limit after which U.S. airlines must allow passengers to deplane flights. Still, the hard deadline is three hours, which didn’t help passengers on a July 17 Allegiant Airlines flight heading to Oakland, Calif., from Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport. More than 150 passengers had to sweat it out for 2½ hours after a maintenance issue left the aircraft with inadequate air conditioning. Passengers had to remain in their seats, even though the plane was still at the departure gate baking in triple-digit temperatures.
When it was discovered earlier this year that the Department of Justice was massively intruding on news gathering, there was a loud hue and cry for a federal shield law, and rightly so. The department had secretly obtained the office phone records of Associated Press journalists — records that potentially revealed communications with confidential sources — and had ridden roughshod over Fox News reporter James Rosen’s rights, monitoring his personal email, phone records and movements.