United Airlines slapped with large fine for tarmac delays

DOT will grant the company $750,000 in credit to compensate inconvenienced passengers

United Airlines was slapped with a $1.9 million fine by the Department of Transportation (DOT) Friday for violating regulations on how long passengers can be stuck on the tarmac.

Rules regulating tarmac delays were established in 2010 to prevent passengers from being grounded without terminal access for more than three hours during domestic flights.

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Similarly, international flights are not allowed to keep passengers on the tarmac for more than four hours. 

But according to an investigation by the Department’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection, United Airlines violated these regulations during twenty domestic flights and five international flights over the last six years.

DOT said the violations affected 3,218 passengers between December 2015 and February 2021.

The longest delay occurred in April 2016 when passengers were forced to stay on a grounded plane for over five hours at the New Orleans International Airport after being diverted from Houston, Texas due to inclement weather. 

United Airlines is required to pay $950,000 within 30 days. 

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DOT will grant the company $750,000 in credit to compensate inconvenienced passengers. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
UAL UNITED AIRLINES HOLDINGS, INC. 48.00 +0.09 +0.19%
AAL AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP, INC. 19.98 +0.34 +1.73%
DAL DELTA AIR LINES, INC. 40.99 -0.21 -0.51%

An additional $200,000 will be credited to create a tool that will boost the airline’s Network Operations Center to avoid more grounded flights, the consent order noted Friday.

Fox News could not immediately reach United Airlines for comment. 

Friday’s fine is just the latest issue facing the airline which found itself in hot water when six employees launched a suit after the company implemented a vaccine mandate in August. 

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United employees will be required to get the vaccine by Sept. 27 – a measure some have called "draconian." 

Those with medical and religious reasons are exempt from the mandate. 

Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.