DOT Issues First Ever Fine For Airport Stranding

The Department of Transportation (DOT)  issued a fine against Continental Airlines and ExpressJet Airlines for stranding passengers in Rochester, Minn., for nearly six hours last August.  It is the DOT’s first-ever fine for an airport stranding.

The agency “levied a total civil penalty of $100,000” against the carriers for their roles in the Aug. 8 incident, according to a press release. DOT also penalized Mesaba Airlines $75,000 for the way it handled ground operations.

An investigation by the Aviation Enforcement Office found the three carriers violated laws that prohibit unfair and deceptive practices in air transportation, DOT’s statement said.

“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,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We will also use what we have learned from this investigation to strengthen protections for airline passengers subjected to long tarmac delays.”