United Airlines fined $1.9 M by Transportation Department over tarmac delays

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United Airlines was fined by the U.S. Department of Transportation on September 24, 2021, $1.9 Million for violating federal rules on long tarmac delays and ordered to cease future similar violations.

The Transportation Department said in a statement online that through an investigation by its department’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection (OACP), it was discovered that between December 2015 and February 2021, United Airlines allowed twenty domestic flights and five international flights at various airports throughout the United States to remain on the tarmac for a lengthy period of time without providing passengers an opportunity to deplane.

This is in violation of the department’s tarmac delay rule, as the rule states that airlines operating aircraft with 30 or more passenger seats are prohibited from allowing their domestic flights to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours at U.S. airports. Meanwhile, international flights should not remain on the tarmac for more than four hours at U.S. airports without giving passengers an opportunity to leave the plane. 

The transportation department found that these tarmac delay violations affected a total of 3,218 passengers. 

Meanwhile, United said that it remains to be “committed to fully meeting all DOT rules and will continue identifying and implementing improvements in how we manage difficult operating conditions.”

The amount of $1.9 Million is the largest fine imposed by the Department of Transportation over such cases of long delays. US President Joe Biden’s administration has pledged to take a tougher stance on airline consumer actions. 


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