United Airlines fined $1.1M for tarmac delays

CHICAGO — United Airlines will pay more than $1 million in fines for stranding passengers on 13 planes for more than three hours on the tarmac during a stormy day last year at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, federal officials announced Friday.

The $1.1 million fine is the largest levied against an airline since 2010, when new rules took effect that bar airlines from stranding passengers on the tarmac for longer than three hours without giving them the opportunity to leave the plane, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The delays involved 13 United and United Express planes on July 13, 2012, a day when severe thunderstorms and lightning had caused several ramp closures and disrupted the movement of aircraft at O’Hare, the nation’s second largest airport. Toilets weren’t working on two of those planes.

“It is unacceptable for passengers to be stranded in planes on the tarmac for hours on end,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “We will continue to require airlines to adopt workable plans to protect passengers from lengthy tarmac delays and carry out these plans when necessary.”

The airline exceeded the three-hour limit by as much as an hour and 17 minutes, and didn’t contact airport personnel or other airlines for help, according to the department.

United spokeswoman Mary Ryan said the airline was “committed to complying with the tarmac regulations and we continue to improve or procedures while maintaining the safety of our customers and co-workers.”

United will pay the government $475,000, while $185,000 will be used to compensate affected passengers, including those who were delayed on the tarmac for less than three hours. The airline will also use $440,000 to acquire and maintain a surveillance system to monitor the location of each of its planes on the airfield.

———

Associated Press writer Joan Lowy contributed to this story from Washington, D.C.

More in Local News

Fatal car crash reported on Highway 92 near Lake Stevens

The 3 p.m. accident and investigation stopped traffic in both directions near Machias Road.

Mayor tries new tactic to curb fire department overtime

Stephanson says an engine won’t go into service when the only available staff would be on overtime.

Jamie Copeland is a senior at Cedar Park Christian Schools’ Mountlake Terrace campus. She is a basketball player, ASB president, cheerleader and, of course, a Lion. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Cedar Park Christian senior stepping up to new challenges

Jamie Copeland’s academics include STEM studies, leadership, ASB activities, honor society.

Cheering families welcome Kidd, Shoup after 6 months at sea

“I get back Daddy back today,” said one homemade sign at Naval Station Everett.

Paine Field fire chief will be allowed to retire

In his letter, the airport director noted Jeff Bohnet was leaving while under investigation.

Stanwood man, 33, killed in crash near Marysville

Speed may have been a factor, the sheriff’s department said.

County plans to sue to recoup costs from ballot drop-box law

A quarter-million dollars could be spent adding 19 ballot boxes in rural areas.

Woman, 47, found dead in Marysville jail cell

She’d been in custody about four days after being arrested on warrants, police said.

Lynnwood man allegedly cuts Marysville’s 911 dispatch wires

The man reportedly told police he intended to trade the wires for drugs.

Most Read