Carriers can’t have planes on the tarmac for more than three hours for domestic and four hours for international flights. Because of this, United Airlines received a $1.9 million fine over flight delays, the largest fine issued by the government for long delays. This move is part of the Biden administration’s agenda to promote airline consumer rights.
According to the Department of Transportation, the flight delays happened between December 2015 and February of this year. This also involved more than 3,200 affected passengers.
United said that the delays happened mostly because of severe weather problems. Also, the airline argued that it’s just a small number in contrast to the almost 8 million flights under the company’s belt in the last five years.
According to United, it is “committed to fully meeting all DOT rules and will continue identifying and implementing improvements in how we manage difficult operating conditions”.
United should pay $950,000 in fine. Plus, the carrier should pay $750,000 in compensation for its affected passengers. Also, the Transportation Department announced that $200,000 of the penalty will be for the development of a “diversion management tool”. This tool will help improve “United’s Network Operations Center overall situational awareness of system-wide diversions and better allows United to avoid the oversaturation of airports with diversion flights”.
Flight Delays and Cancellations
Flying during the pandemic was a nightmare for a lot of passengers. Passengers had to deal with delays and cancellations because of several reasons. During summer, airlines experienced weather problems and staffing shortages.
According to the transport department, the number of airline passenger complaints surged by over 500 percent last year. Over 100,000 complaints were recorded by the agency in 2020. Transportation Department’s acting general counsel John Putnam said that “With the COVID19 pandemic, we saw a rash of flight cancellations by the airlines, and some of those airlines kept the consumers’ money”.
The agency said that it is already investigating refund practices of both domestic and international airlines.