American Airlines has been fined a record $4.1 million for lengthy tarmac delays affecting nearly 6,000 passengers.
The Department of Transportation fined American Airlines $4.1 million on Monday for the lengthy tarmac delay.
It is the largest fine ever issued to an airline for violating federal tarmac delay rules.
The agency said 43 US flights had runway delays of more than 3 hours from 2018 to 2021.
The US Department of Transportation announced Monday that American Airlines was fined $4.1 million for violating federal laws that prohibit airlines from keeping domestic flights on the runway for more than three hours without giving passengers an opportunity to disembark.
Between 2018 and 2021, a total of 43 domestic American Airlines flights sat on the runway for more than three hours, affecting 5,821 passengers, according to an investigation by the Department of Transportation’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection (OACP). On one flight, the agency said, the company did not provide food and water to passengers for the first two hours as requested.
The longest tarmac delay mentioned in the investigation was 6 hours and 3 minutes on August 16, 2020, when an American airline diverted 14 flights from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to San Antonio International Airport due to severe thunderstorms.
An American Airlines spokesperson said the runway delays cited by the Department of Transportation were the result of “extraordinary weather events” and represented a small percentage of the 7.7 million flights during this time period.
American Airlines has invested in technology to improve its performance on runway delays such as the Hub Efficiency Analysis (HEAT) tool to divert arrivals and departures around severe weather and smart gate technology that reduces runway congestion and the time aircraft spend waiting for available gates, a spokesperson told Insider.
They added, “American always strives to provide a positive travel experience for our customers and takes seriously our responsibility to comply with all DOT requirements.” “We have since apologized to the affected customers and are sorry for any inconvenience caused.”
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