Major US-based carrier American Airlines has been fined 4.1 million US Dollars by the United States Department of Transportation.
The reason: passengers being kept on aircraft on the tarmac longer than the legal limit. This breach of rules occurred between 2018 and 2021, but it took until recently for the investigation to come through and punishment to ensue.
In total, American Airlines (AA) broke the rules on 43 flights, affecting nearly 6,000 passengers during the 3-year period.
Furthermore, the safety and security exceptions applied to none of the flights, and most of the offending flights either departed from or arrived at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) in northern Texas.
DFW is American's largest hub and is where the airline is headquartered.
As quoted from the USDOT (Department of Transportation):
DOT regulations require airlines to allow passengers to disembark the plane if they choose after three hours of ground delays for domestic flights or four hours for international flights, though some exceptions for safety and security are allowed under the policy.
The airline has agreed to pay the fine despite some skepticism and has apologized to those whose flights were involved, sending out a statement to all affected passengers.
The DOT noted that this is the single largest fine ever given to an airline for the Tarmac Delay rule.
This comes at a time when the DOT increasingly is focused on providing passengers with appropriate compensation for disruptions to travel, as well as unintentional delays due to Air Traffic Control, Weather, and staffing shortages.
AeroXplorer has reached out to American Airlines and is awaiting a statement on the matter.
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