Skip to main content
Business

American Airlines fined $4.1M for keeping passengers on tarmac

Share

Media Landscape

See who else is reporting on this story and which side of the political spectrum they lean. To read other sources, click on the plus signs below.

Learn more about this data

Left 27%

Center 60%

Right 13%

Bias Distribution Powered by Ground News

The Department of Transportation announced it is fining American Airlines over $4 million for keeping thousands of passengers on the tarmac for an unlawful amount of time. The $4.1 million is the largest ever penalty for violating the department’s tarmac delay rule. Of that fine, $2.05 million will be credited to American Airlines for compensation provided to passengers of impacted flights.

“This is the latest action in our continued drive to enforce the rights of airline passengers,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement Monday. “Whether the issue is extreme tarmac delays or problems getting refunds, DOT will continue to protect consumers and hold airlines accountable.”

According to the department, American Airlines allowed 43 flights to remain on the tarmac for lengthy periods without providing passengers an opportunity to deplane. On one of the 43 flights, passengers were not provided with food and water as required.

The tarmac delays affected a total of 5,821 passengers. Most delays occurred at Dallas Fort Worth Airport, according to the department.

American Airlines told the department the tarmac delays were the result of exceptional weather events, and that they represented less than 0.001% of the approximately 7.7 million flights operated by American and its regional partners from 2018 to 2021. The airline said it has committed “substantial time and resources to improve its performance on tarmac delays.”

“We have since apologized to the impacted customers and regret any inconvenience caused,” the airline said Monday. “American respectfully disagrees that certain of these tarmac delays warrant enforcement action under the extreme circumstances presented.”

Monday’s fine came seven years after the department fined American Airlines a then record-matching $1.6 million after it found the airline had allowed flights to stay on the tarmac without allowing passengers off the plane. The department is also investigating Delta Air Lines for a similar incident in July of 2023.

At least one Delta passenger was taken to a Las Vegas hospital for heat-related illness after the plane sat on the tarmac for hours. Buttigieg described the incident as “infuriating” and “shocking.”

“I want to know how it was possible for passengers to be left in triple-digit heat onboard an aircraft for that long,” Buttigieg told Reuters in July. “Even under normal temperatures a tarmac delay is not supposed to go that long and we have rules about that, which we are actively enforcing.”

Tags: , , , , ,

THE U-S DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SAID IT IS FINING AMERICAN AIRLINES 4 POINT 1 MILLION DOLLARS FOR **UNLAWFULLY KEEPING PASSENGERS STUCK INSIDE PLANES ON THE TARMAC FOR LENGTHY PERIODS OF TIME.

IT’S THE HEFTIEST FINE THE GOVERNMENT AGENCY HAS EVER HANDED DOWN OVER “TARMAC DELAY VIOLATIONS.”

ACCORDING TO THE DEPARTMENT —

AIRLINES ARE PROHIBITED FROM KEEPING PASSENGERS ON THE TARMAC FOR MORE THAN 3 HOURS.

AMERICAN VIOLATED THAT RULE 43 TIMES BETWEEN 2018 AND 2021 – INCLUDING ONE DELAY ON THE TARMAC IN SAN ANTONIO THAT LASTED SIX HOURS.

AMERICAN RELEASED A STATEMENT SAYING THOSE FLIGHTS REPRESENT A SMALL NUMBER OF THE NEARLY 8 MILLION FLIGHTS TAKEN DURING THAT TIME PERIOD.

EARLIER THIS MONTH — IT WAS A DELTA PLANE THAT PASSENGERS WERE ON WHEN THEIR FLIGHT WAS DELAYED FOR HOURS —

PASSENGERS REPORTEDLY WERE PASSING OUT DUE TO THE HOT AND UNCOMFORTABLE CONDITIONS WHILE STUCK ON THE TARMAC.