WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 (UPI) — The U.S. Department of Transportation said Monday that American Eagle Airlines would be the first airline ever fined for violating new rules on flight delays.
The rules apply to passengers delayed inside planes on the tarmac. Transportation said American Eagle was handed a $900,000 fine for delays that took place May 29, 2011, at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
While there are some exceptions allowed, it is illegal for airlines to keep passengers on board a plane for more than three hours without giving the passengers an opportunity to deplane.
Transportation said American Eagle had 15 flights with passengers kept on airplanes beyond the three-hour limit.
The flights were stranded on the tarmac for up to 225 minutes, 45 minutes beyond the limit.
Transportation said $650,00 of the fine must be paid within 30 days. The remaining $250,000 can be used for passenger refunds, vouchers or frequent flyer awards for passengers affected by the delays.