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Continental, ExpressJet Hit with $100K Fine for Tarmac Delay

November 24, 2009 | Posted in: Airline News,Ask Rick,Delays,DOT,Passengers

Whoa. The Dept. of Transportation means business when it comes to folks being trapped-on-the-tarmac, as demonstrated by a record-breaking fine slapped on Continental and its partner ExpressJet.

The airlines were fined a total of $100,000 for an appalling event that took place in Rochester, Minnesota back in August of this year. A Continental flight, operated by ExpressJet flying from Houston to Minneapolis was diverted to Rochester due to storms. The plane arrived a little after midnight and passengers had to sit there until morning.

Also fined – to the tune of $75,000 – was Mesaba Airlines, the only carrier staffing the airport at that time. A Mesaba employee told ExpressJet it couldn’t let its passengers in the terminal because there were no TSA employees on duty – which made no sense.

I like this comment, from DOT Secretary Ray LaHood: “I hope that this sends a signal to the rest of the airline industry that we expect airlines to respect the rights of air travelers.”

2 Responses to “Continental, ExpressJet Hit with $100K Fine for Tarmac Delay”

  1. Ken says:

    And how much of that $175,000 do you think will see its way to the passengers who were on the plane?

  2. Rick Seaney says:

    Good question. We do know that Continental did refund the passengers’ fares, and gave them some sort of “additional compensation”. As for the fines, that money will go directly to the U.S. Treasury.

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