The Department of Transportation said Monday that it has fined American Eagle Airlines $900,000 for keeping hundreds of passengers stuck on planes for hours due to tarmac delays.
According to the department, American Eagle Airlines, a regional affiliate of American Airlines, experienced tarmac delays of more than three hours for 15 flights arriving at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on May 29. A total of 608 passengers were aboard delayed flights.
The airline has to pay $650,000 of the fine within 30 days, but up to $250,000 can be credited for refunds, vouchers and frequent flyer mile awards provided to the 608 passengers.
The department implemented a new rule in April 2010 which limits tarmac delays on domestic flights to three hours, after which airlines must either return to the gave or provide passengers with the option of safely exiting the plane.
Airlines that violate the rule can be fined up to $27,500 per customer.
American Eagle blamed delays on airport congestion caused by weather. They have apologized to the customers and provided them with travel vouchers and frequent flyer miles.
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