American Airlines Fined $4.1 Million for Tarmac Delay Violations

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has fined American Airlines 4.1 million USD for violating federal statutes that require airlines to allow passengers on domestic flights to disembark during tarmac delays of three hours or more.

Following an investigation by the Department’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection (OACP), it has been determined that American Airlines kept 43 flights on the tarmac for prolonged periods of time without allowing passengers to disembark.

American Airlines at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport
American Airlines at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

DOT is consequently ordering the airline to pay 4.1 million USD, which is the largest DOT fine ever issued for tarmac delay violations.

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said:

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

The 43 delayed flights occurred between 2018 and 2021. DOT found that none of these flights qualified for exceptions to the tarmac delay rule, such as having to occur due to safety and security concerns.

In addition, it found that on one of the flights, passengers were not provided with food and water as required.

These tarmac delays affected a total of  5,821 passengers, with most of them occurring at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DAL).

From the 4.1 million USD fine, 2.05 million USD will be credited to the airline for compensation to passengers on the affected flights.

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