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American Airlines fined $4.1 million for dozens of long tarmac delays that trapped passengers

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The federal government is fining American Airlines $4.1 million for dozens of instances in which passengers were kept on board planes without a chance to exit during long ground delays. The U.S. Department of Transportation said Monday it is the largest such fine against an airline since rules covering long ground delays took effect about a decade ago. (abcnews.go.com) More...

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tcavin
tcavin 16
give the money to the passengers
dcmeigs
dcmeigs 1
Did you read the article?
RWSlater
Ron Slater 12
So the fine money goes to the FAA and not the people on the planes? Doesn't seem quite fair.
jdowney3333
John Downey 1
It's not about compensating passengers, it's about hitting airlines like AAL in the pocketbook so that they stop treating passengers so poorly. American Air will likely continue not really caring about their passengers, they have proven this many times.
SkyAware123
SkyAware123 2
so by giving the money to passengers instead of the FAA it won't hit the airline? Stop talking out of your a**
59Captain
M. R. 2
Passengers should get double what they paid for the ticket plus refund of that particular flight
American Airlines should match what ever was paid to passengers as a charitable gift to Ronald McDonalds Charity for Children's - none of these fines should go the U.S. Government
srobak
srobak 2
either way in the end - AA isn't paying for this. Future passengers are. This will NOT come out of any profit margins or bonuses for execs.
RobinLord
Robin Lord 20
And how are all of us who sat for endless hours on the tarmac compensated?
ghstark
Greg S 17
You were compensated by gaining knowledge that American sucks and you shouldn't fly them.
SeanAwning
Sean Awning 8
It's not just AAL. Remember this story from July:
https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/us-investigating-why-delta-passengers-remained-plane-extreme-heat-buttigieg-2023-07-20/
fireftr
Dale Ballok 6
That doesn’t come anywhere close to being compensated for being held hostage in a tin can!
adainv
adainv 2
The lawyers get the money, relax! They are looking out for you.
wd73383
WD Rseven 9
$4.1 million is nothing to AAL. AAL corporate executives blow through that with perks and bonuses. Nothing will change until the FAA starts to fine them personally.
jdowney3333
John Downey 9
Very true WD. When corporate executives start having to pay their own fines, maybe it will change. Otherwise we passengers get screwed and when the airline is about to file chapter 11, we taxpayers bail them out.
watkinssusan
customer service,and that includes airline personnel from the ground to the cockpit,is defininely NOT what it used to be..that applies to ALL of the airlines,no just american..a whole lot of the "old folks" who used to work for the airlines,were offered early buyouts,ealy retirements or they were laid off with the covid pandemic and cut backs, and didnt come back,and the "new crop" of employees that replaced them after the pandemic "freeze" on flights and hiring,are definitley NOT as caring..as far as american egoes,it actually began with the merger as the us airways personnel at the time were not noted to hav the professional courteous attitude of aa employees..having been both an airline employee, as well as a passenger who has been stranded on the tarmac,i have a pretty good understandgin of both sides of this issue..no one wants to feel neglected or ignored or inconvenienced by an airline employee, or an atc or weather issue,and that is basically what this fine is supposed to message to the american airlines group..remember there are limited gates at airports to accommodate a lot of aircraft that have already pushed form the gate and must stop,or have landed and there are no gates available due to weather issues..people would then complain if they were allowed to deplane on the tarmac for all kinds of reasons..just saying..not a perfect setup or system for anyone..
SeanAwning
Sean Awning 12
Customer service, at the corporate level, is now done by AI. However, check-in counter agents, gate agents, cabin crew, and flight crew, are still human and can work small miracles on a human scale. I suspect "Company" -- meaning the corporate hierarchy -- makes decisions about keeping the planes on the tarmac and turning off the APU and engines to conserve fuel, because the flight and cabin crew would rather return to the gate for everyone's safety and comfort. Look to the Boardroom for the bad decisions.
ko25701
ko25701 2
Deplaning on a tarmac was safely done form many decades at hundreds of airports. It's a better option than being stuck on an airplane for hours.
evvvvv
I Dunno 6
You guys always get this wrong.....
It's not ATC at all, it's the Airlines that actually schedule 50+ take off in a 1 hour period because that particular hour is the most desirable hour(d) that the3 public wants to travel.
The bottom line is that a single (1) runway can only SAFELY handle 42 aircraft per hour in one direction.
So add in lousy weather/visibility/fog/rain/etc.....then that number goes down,
Simply put.....do the math !!!
jamesdsisti
jim sisti 20
So, let's just say a plane has been battling ATC delays(staffing issues)and ground stops(weather). Even tho it left the gate on time, it has been creeping along the line of planes waiting to take off, and is now #3 for departure but has been away from the gate 2 hours 30 minutes. As a passenger on board, do you 1) want the pilot to stay and hope to get airborne soon;even if it exceeds 3 hours, or 2) pull out of the line, taxi past 20 planes waiting to take off, and return to the gate, where the chance of the pilot timing out or the flight cancelling is likely? And if it cancels, then what? Anyone who has been traveling in the last 2 years has faced full flights, so your flight returns to the gate,cancels, and you cannot get out for another 2 days.
Or maybe you are on a flight and the airport you are planning to land at has had a severe thunderstorm over it that is not moving, so your pilot diverts to another airport 100 miles away to sit out the storm. What normally would be a 30 or 45 minute detour extends to 90 minutes because the storm is not moving.Oncw back in the flow to your original destination, there are no gates open since the storm delayed planes that were at gates and should have been long gone. So you land but cannot get to a gate, and another round of severe weather hits. What in reality do you expect, for the airport to have a special reserved gate just for your plane, or maybe you have such little care or concern for the people who work on the ramp, that you expect them to risk getting killed by a bolt of lightning just so you don't have to wait?
RWSlater
Ron Slater 8
Great comment Jim. Spot on and I experienced that exact scenario a few times in my career, and I am so glad I am retired now
captrags80
Everyone read Jim’s comment. THIS is just one of the innumerable ways these tarmac delays happen. Unless you have been in the left seat experiencing the absolute frustration dealing with one of these situations, you can’t know how the situation can easily spiral out of control.
MartinZacharias
If the heat inside the jet is a life or death situation use the emergency exit.
I have seen this happen in Phoenix where the captain forgot to turn the air conditioning on.and I was sitting in the main cabin. People were passing out and it was getting hard to breathe. The temperature was nearing 110 and I told the FA that we needed to exit the hot box soon. I ran up to the cockpit in my pilot uniform on and chewed the captain out. He evacuated all the passengers off the jet.
fireftr
Dale Ballok 6
He “forgot” to turn the a/c on, in”Phoenix”? Damn!
briansfreeman
Brian Freeman 3
The moral to that story is to get yourself a pilot uniform for air travel.
SkyAware123
SkyAware123 1
yeah , right.... I've been there and as soon as it gets over 75 inside the plane people will bitch and complain to the attendants. Cool story bro.....keep making them up.
srobak
srobak 1
None of the FAs thought to phone up front to tell him it was getting toasty?
data4unme
Ultimately we are paying the fines and subjected to the delays.
Propwash122
Peter Fuller 4
Airlines and airport operators should consider scissor-lift buses, particularly at airports with high-volume hub operations, to get passengers and their carry-ons off and to the terminal. Adjust the bus height to match the aircraft door. This could deal with arriving flights unable to go to a gate, and departing flights stuck on the airport with timed-out crews.
dwight666
D Chambers 4
This is the setup at Dulles in Washington, and to some degree at CDG in Paris.

PS If you don’t have enuf ground personnel to maneuver the jetway to the bus, you are equally stranded.
ddbguru
Ben Seidman 4
There should be a virtual take-off queue. Dozens of planes in a physical line represent discomfort for passengers and fuel use and resulting pollution. Let the passengers wait in the terminal until 40 minutes plus taxi time (boarding and taxi) prior to a reasonably reliable take-off time. This would also protect against crews running out of hours and subsequent flight cancelations.
patpylot
patrick baker 13
what a joke such a small number by comparison to the distress caused and lack of care about passengers. Pretty darn clear how much american airlines cares...... none or not much......
sparkie624
sparkie624 2
That much is certain.
MichaelColucci
Wonderful headline, but a ridiculous premise. Customer service on most airlines is generally lousy but it's as if AA wanted to have planes idling on the "tarmac". Sure, let's waste fuel, have crews delayed, possibly missing connections and cancelling other flights, and have a plane full of unhappy passengers.
If you're #27 for takeoff, is sitting at the gate or deplaning passengers going to make you #1 once you push back? That's assuming there is an empty gate and you're not displacing an arrival and creating a gate hold.
Perhaps the FAA should fine themselves and their airports? Maybe they would then address the problems rather than passing the blame to airlines, and crews who would be really happier to roll out and do a turn and burn.
OccamsRazor
Ben Bosley 2
They make that in a day.
lbflight
Burke Files 2
It is a spank tax. The US government gets the money, and we get sore butts. I am reasonably sure AA paid even more than that in wasted employee time.
charlie4009
Charles F Mead 3
It's ATC that won't let the airplanes take off, it's not like the airline wants to sit on the ground. ATC is understaffed and operates with antiquated technology, but it's the airline that gets blamed.
mark7dailey
mark dailey 2
Tarmac is a material not a location. Just saying.
Most delays occur on taxiways, ramps and gates. To be delayed on 'the tarmac' it would have to be a very unique location...like a WWII airfield or training base. Sure, it's a catchy word but continually used incorrectly by media. (gripe over)
Don't even get me started on the media's use of 'decimated'...

Apologies to the other well thought, relevant commenters.
itsvince
Rupert Pupkin 1
The "apron" would be more appropriate.
fireftr
Dale Ballok 3
Does it really matter? The point is, people were held for an unrealistic amount of time!
w2bsa
w2bsa 1
It depends on where in the airport you are!!
fireftr
Dale Ballok -1
REALLY? You’re going to quibble over the terminology they used? Damn, man! Get real! But, the point is that you understood what they were talking about, right?
mark7dailey
mark dailey 4
Wow. Can I not have a pet peeve? Yes, I understood exactly the intent of the article.
SeanAwning
Sean Awning 1
Definition #2 here https://www.ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=tarmac based on usage rather than strict etymology. tarmac: "A paved surface of a runway, taxiway, or apron at an airport."

My pet peeve is the it's/its grammatical error. :)
marcusangelus
Mark Jenkins 1
The cost of flying has gone down, in real dollars, over time. This leads to issues with a broader swath of the American public being able to afford to fly, possibly leading to a decline in civility among passengers. It also leads to lower cost margins for dealing with/eating various expenses. Generally speaking, as a cost-sensitive individual, I'm willing to put up with certain declines in service and comfort in order to have a lower cost of travel.

Different airlines have and will continue to make changes to their reputations. Word about fines hitting airlines will help that process along. In the end, I can make choices about who I fly with on the basis of cost, service, and reputation. I'm ok with that.
crashandburn
tom mcdo 1
the fines are meaningless, they are just passed on to the consumers. The only answer is stop flying.
briansfreeman
Brian Freeman 1
This action is really just about making it appear that Petey is not being so limp-wristed and actually doing something to crack down on the airlines on the public's behalf. It's the oldest strategy in the book - if you suck at your job, throw mud on other people until everyone gets distracted and forgets about you...
w2bsa
w2bsa 1
Unfortunately, the majority of the news media will use the shortest word they can possibly find to collectively describe something. In this case being every taxiway, ramp or gate at every airport.
fireftr
Dale Ballok 2
Most times, they have no clue as to the details of what they’re reporting! Then, to make matters worse, they don’t, can’t, or won’t take the time to get it correct. Just throw it out there, and that’s good enough! NOT!
jkeifer3
Joe Keifer -1
Mayor Pete's DOT/FAA reaping the benefits!
RWSlater
Ron Slater 1
And so why would they fix it? The FAA gets the money, spends it on diversity training and hopes for some more delayed flights and more fines. Ridiculous
fireftr
Dale Ballok 3
“Diversity training”, that’s a joke! They don’t need any more training, but the passengers involved certainly should be compensated for their inconvenience!
jkeifer3
Joe Keifer -4
Yep. What we need is a new administration with the salvation of these United States as it's core mission.
dwight666
D Chambers 2
No apostrophe in (possessive) “its”.

“It’s” is a contraction of “it is”
AndrewMarchfeld
That’s how our government operates 😢🤮

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