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Aviation & Space Law

American Eagle Fined $900K in First Penalty Levied re Passengers Waiting Over 3 Hours on Tarmac

Posted Nov 14, 2011 2:15 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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For those wondering how aggressively the U.S. Department of Transportation intends to enforce a new rule requiring airlines not to keep domestic passengers sitting for more than 3 hours in planes waiting on the tarmac, a $900,000 fine assessed against American Eagle Airlines provides an answer.

The penalty resulted from a May 29 incident in which American Eagle Airlines had 15 planes containing 608 passengers exceed that limit after they arrived at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. It is the first penalty issued by the DOT since the rule went into effect last year, according to the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times.

Of the $900,000, the airline must pay $650,000 within 30 days. The remaining $250,000 can be credited toward refunds, vouchers and frequent flyer miles provided to passengers. The terms were a settlement agreed to by both sides concerning the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights violation.

The airline could have been fined $27,000 per passenger.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Freak NE Snowstorm Strands Air Passengers on Tarmac, Testing New DOT Regs, and Closes Courthouses"

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