Snip: "Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee's aviation operations subcommittee, said the incident underscored the need to pass legislation setting a three-hour limit for an airplane to sit on the tarmac without passengers being allowed off. A so-called passenger bill of rights that would do just that recently passed the Commerce Committee and awaits action in the full Senate.
The Air Transport Association, which represents a group of airlines that includes Continental, has resisted the legislation in the past. Spokeswoman Elizabeth Merida said the group continues to believe the legislation "will ultimately end up inconveniencing passengers rather than helping them."
Here's a thought. "Show of hands! Who wants to sit on the tarmac possibly for hours and hope the weather clears/bus gets here/new flight crew shows up and who wants to get off, go to the terminal - be given the opportunity to rent a car, take a cab, catch a bus....???" Democracy is a beautiful thing. So is individual freedom. After the 3 hour limit let each passenger decide for themselves what they want to do.
Note that the passengers from another diverted flight, Delta were put on a bus by 1:30 am.