Contingency Plan for Lengthy Tarmac Delays

Last updated April 4, 2014


Note: Air France's Contingency Plan is not guaranteed, is subject to change without notice, and is not part of the Conditions of Transport, which may be found at under "Legal Notices" The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) tarmac delay rule establishes specific time limits for tarmac delays for international flights at U.S. airports.  Air France’s plan meets all limits imposed by this rule.  Air France has developed a detailed plan to account for those times when unforeseen constraints have caused delays. The following exceptions to the specific time limits apply to Air France flights departing or arriving at U.S. airports. • Safety or security reasons • Air Traffic Control (ATC) advises the pilot-in-command that returning to the terminal would disrupt airport operations

Plan Requirements

Air France’s contingency plan assures that Air France has sufficient resources and will meet the requirements of the DOT for extended tarmac delays, including diversions. This plan ensures that Air France will meet specified guidance as it pertains to provisioning, as follows: adequate food and potable water no later than two hours after the aircraft leaves the gate (in case of departure) or touches down (in case of an arrival) if the aircraft remains on the tarmac, unless the pilot-in-command determines that safety or security considerations preclude such service; operable lavatory facilities; medical attention; and other customer needs. This plan has been coordinated with all airport authorities, as specified below.


The Operations Control Center (OCC), located in Paris and the Local Station Management of the affected Station, are jointly responsible for the management and quality of the plan. Local Airport Station Management, Flight Operations and In-Flight Service will carry out the plan at the station and flight level.

Airport Station Plan

The plan builds upon the standard operating procedures now in place to handle extended on-board delays and diversions.  All airport stations have identified resources and developed procedures that will allow them to effectively bring a plane off the runway and open the door, giving passengers the opportunity to deplane within specified time limits. Airport stations will assure that diversions are given the same priority as other taxi delays, meaning passenger egress will be allowed prior to the 4 hour mark for international flights.  Individual airport station plans allow at least 30 minutes for completing the task of returning to the gate and deplaning. All U.S. airport stations served by Air France, including regular U.S. diversion airports, have coordinated with the airport authority, the terminal operators, Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration to meet the tarmac delay rule's requirement.  This includes back-up methods for inoperative equipment and provisioning and servicing of aircraft. Customer service divisions have prepared gate announcements to be used as appropriate, based on the situation.  The announcements will: • Identify the reason for the delay and tentative departure time • Explain boarding strategy • Explain the possible effect of the DOT’s tarmac delay rule Throughout the flight delay, communication between Air France’s Operation Control Center (OCC), the Local Airport Station Management and the flight crew will be continual to permit announcements on board at least every 30 minutes regarding the status of the delay, including the reasons for the tarmac delay, if known. Passengers on delayed flights will be notified beginning 30 minutes after scheduled departure time, including any revised departure time that passengers were notified about during boarding, and every 30 minutes thereafter that they have an opportunity to deplane from the aircraft that is at the gate or at another disembarkation area with the door open, if the opportunity to deplane actually exists.  The general environment and “mood” of the customers will be monitored and Air France will make decisions for the well-being of all customers aboard the affected flight.