USDOT fines United Airlines for long tarmac delays, mistreatment of disabled

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The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) fined United Airlines $2.75 million this week for breaking the agency's rule against long flight delays on tarmacs, as well as disability rules.

USDOT originally investigated United Airlines after a noticeable rise in complaints from customers with disabilities in 2014. The investigation found that the airline had not offered people who have disabilities with fast and proper help when the passengers entered and exited the aircraft. Passengers with disabilities also were not offered ample assistance in United's airport terminals.

The airline also had five long tarmac delays on Dec. 8, 2013, at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. There was another long tarmac delay on May 20, 2014, at Houston Hobby Airport. Despite many variables causing the delays, the airline’s staff consistently mismanaged the delays so that the planes were on the tarmac for more than three hours.

“It is our duty to ensure that travelers with disabilities have access to the services they  need, and that when significant tarmac delays happen, travelers are not left on the plane,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. “We will make sure that airlines comply with our rules and treat their passengers fairly.”

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U.S. Department of Transportation

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