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American Airlines Fined $4.1 Million for Tarmac Delay Violations

American Airlines

BNR – American Airlines has been fined $4.1 million by the United States Transportation Department (USDOT). The fine is due to the airline’s alleged violation of tarmac delay regulations, marking the largest-ever penalty for such a breach.

Compensation Credit Included in Penalty

Out of the assessed $4.1 million penalty, American Airlines will receive a credit of $2.05 million. According to USDOT, it corresponds to the compensation provided to passengers affected by delayed flights.

The regulatory body stated that its Office of Aviation Consumer Protection conducted an exhaustive investigation. The airline allowed 43 domestic flights to languish on the tarmac without extending passengers the opportunity to disembark.

Between 2018 and 2021, American Airlines purportedly permitted these 43 flights to remain stationary on the tarmac for extended periods.

In one case, passengers were not furnished with obligatory sustenance and water. Additionally, the majority of these protracted delays happened at Dallas Fort Worth Airport, affecting a total of 5,821 passengers.

American Airlines Cites Weather Conditions

American Airlines, while acknowledging the imposed fine, contended that these delays were largely due to extraordinary weather conditions.

The airline further maintained that these 43 flights accounted for a minuscule fraction. They constitute less than 0.001%, of the approximately 7.7 million flights operated by the company and its regional partners.

The airline expressed its contrition for the inconvenience caused and apologised to the impacted customers. It also underlined its commitment to improving its tarmac delay performance through substantial resource allocation.

History of Tarmac Infractions

The carrier accepted the settlement while expressing a divergent view on whether certain tarmac delays warranted penalties under the circumstances. Tarmac infractions are not new for American Airlines, which was fined $1.6 million by USDOT in 2016 for similar violations.

USDOT’s intentions to enforce more stringent penalties for airlines found in breach of consumer protection protocols have been evident. The regulatory body aims to set a precedent that deters future transgressions within the industry.


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