United Airlines Tarmac Delay Contingency Plan

Effective July 2021

Flights Experiencing a Lengthy Tarmac Delay at a U.S. Airport

In accordance with the U.S. Department of Transportation Enhanced Protections for Airline Passengers regulations (14 CFR Part 259), United Airlines ("United”) adopted this Contingency Plan for Lengthy Tarmac Delays ("Plan”). In the unusual event that a delay covered by Part 259.4 occurs on a flight operated by United, the following applies:

  1. United will make decisions using its core4 service standards: Safe, Caring, Dependable and Efficient.
  2. Passengers shall have the option to deplane an aircraft when there is an excessive tarmac delay (three hours for domestic flights and four hours for international flights) with the following exceptions:
    1. For departing flights, when the flight begins to return to a suitable disembarkation point no later than three hours (for domestic flights) or four hours (for international flights) after the main aircraft door is closed in order to deplane passengers. If the aircraft is in an area that is not under the carrier’s control, the aircraft has begun to return to a suitable disembarkation point when a request is made to the Federal Aviation Administration control tower, airport authority, or other relevant authority directing the aircraft’s operations. If the aircraft is in an area under the carrier’s control, the aircraft has begun to return to a suitable disembarkation point when the pilot begins maneuvering the aircraft to a suitable disembarkation point; or
    2. The pilot-in-command determines that deplaning passengers at a suitable disembarkation point would jeopardize passenger safety or security, or there is a safety-related or security-related reason the aircraft cannot leave its position on the tarmac to deplane passengers; or
    3. Air traffic control advises the pilot-in-command that returning to a suitable disembarkation point to deplane passengers would significantly disrupt airport operations.
  3. United will provide adequate food and potable water no later than two hours after the start of the tarmac delay, unless the pilot-in-command determines that safety or security considerations preclude such service.
  4. United will provide operable lavatory facilities, maintain comfortable cabin temperatures, and ensure adequate medical attention if needed, during the tarmac delay.
  5. United will notify the passengers on board its aircraft during a tarmac delay regarding the status of the delay when the tarmac delay exceeds 30 minutes.
  6. United will notify passengers on board the aircraft that passengers have the opportunity to deplane each time the opportunity to deplane exists at a suitable disembarkation point for all departing flights and diversions.
  7. United has sufficient resources to implement this Plan.
  8. United has coordinated this Plan with airport authorities (including terminal facility operators where applicable) at each U.S. airport that United serves, as well as United’s regular U.S. diversion airports, and, if necessary, will work with airport authorities and other airlines to share facilities and make gates available in an emergency.
  9. United has coordinated this Plan with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at each airport that United regularly uses for international flights, including diversion airports.
  10. United has coordinated this Plan with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at each U.S. airport that United serves, including diversion airports.

Note: As specified in United’s contract of carriage, the tarmac delay contingency plan of the operating carrier, if not United, governs when such carrier is operating a flight on which the United (UA) code is displayed or marketed.

Flights on Canadian soil

In accordance with Canada’s Air Passenger Protection Regulation (APPR), Bill C-49, United Airlines (“United”) has Created a Lengthy Tarmac Delay Contingency Plan (“Plan”). In the unusual event of such a delay either before takeoff or after landing, United will seek to ensure that:

  1. For flights on Canadian soil, United will not permit an aircraft to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours before allowing passengers to deplane unless: 1) the pilot-in-command determines there is a safety-related or security-related reason (e.g., weather or a directive from an appropriate government agency) that the aircraft cannot leave its position on the tarmac to deplane passengers; or 2) air traffic control advises the pilot-in-command that returning to the gate or another disembarkation point in order to deplane passengers would significantly disrupt airport operations; or 3) in the case of a departing flight only, the pilot-in-command receives information that the flight will depart within 45 additional minutes after three hours of tarmac delay.
  2. For all flights covered by this Plan, United will provide adequate food and drinking water as requested by passengers unless the pilot-in-command determines that safety or security considerations preclude such service.
  3. For all flights covered by this Plan, United will provide operable lavatory facilities, maintain comfortable cabin temperatures, and ensure adequate medical attention if needed while the aircraft remains on the tarmac.
  4. For all flights covered by this Plan, United will ensure that passengers on the delayed flight receive notification regarding the status of the delay every 30 minutes while the aircraft is delayed, including the reasons for the tarmac delay, if known.
  5. For all flights covered by this Plan, United will ensure that passengers on the delayed flight receive notification beginning 30 minutes after departure time (including any revised departure time that passengers were notified about before boarding) and every 30 minutes thereafter that they have the opportunity to deplane from an aircraft that is at the gate or another disembarkation area with the door open if the opportunity to deplane actually exists.

Note: The tarmac delay contingency plan of the operating carrier governs when it is operating a flight on which the United (UA) code is displayed.