The U.S. government is very serious about airlines not stranding passengers. It does not matter if the airline is from overseas or not. The government does not want travellers stranded on the tarmac. Unfortunate for some United Airlines passengers, this is just what happened. Now, United Airlines finds itself fined more than $1 million.
Why is the carrier being fined so much? Well, it did not just strand passengers on one plane but 13 different planes. These planes were stranded on the tarmac for more than four hours. United Airlines blames stormy weather for why it left these people stranded on its planes at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
According to the U.S. government, this is the largest fine that has been levied against an airline since 2010, when the aviation industry was hit with the new rule that bans airlines from stranding passengers on the tarmac for longer than three hours. If an airline keeps people on planes for a minute longer than three hours, they have to give passengers the opportunity to get off the plane, according to the United States Department of Transportation.
The United Airlines delays were seen on 13 different United Express planes on July 13. This was a day that some very bad storms rolled through Chicago. As a result of the lightning, several of ramps were closed. This really limited the movement of all planes at the airport. This was bad news for all of the airlines since O’Hare is the second largest airport in the United States.
The passengers said that the conditions on the planes went from bad to worse really quickly. In fact, the toilets were not even working on two off the 13 planes. In the end, the passengers were stuck on these planes for 4 hours and 17 minutes.
Anthony Foxx, who is the Transportation Secretary in the United States, said that it is completely unacceptable for any passenger to be stuck on a plane, on the tarmac, for more than three hours. The U.S. government will continue doing all it can to make airlines aware that this will not be tolerated in the least. Someone has to protect the passengers and given them some rights. They should not be held at an airline’s mercy. If passengers are, airlines can expect to be hit with some big fines.
Mary Ryan, who is a spokeswoman for the airline, made a public announcement in defence of the airline. She said that United Airlines was very committed to complying with all of the tarmac regulations that have been set by the government and airports. It wants to improve this procedure in any way that it can while still maintaining the safety of all of the passengers on its planes.
Of course, the government is not going to get the full $1 million. The government will only get around $475,000. Nearly $185,000 will be used to help compensate the passengers who were left on this plane. The remaining money will be used to acquire and maintain new surveillance equipment for the airline.