Posted on: January 2, 2013
DOT collects $3.6M in fines for consumer rule violations in 2012
The Department of Transportation said it levied $3.6 million in penalties for 2012 violations of the department’s consumer-protection rules for air passengers. The total is up from $3.3 million in 2011.
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The DOT issued 49 consent orders for such violations (up from 47 in 2011), the last two being fines of Copa Airlines ($150,000) and Virgin America ($55,000) for not strictly adhering to the DOT’s rules for lengthy tarmac delays.
Copa allegedly left passengers stranded aboard an aircraft at New York’s Kennedy Airport for five hours and 34 minutes on June 22 on a flight bound for Panama, and did not offer food until more than four hours into the delay, although DOT rules call for airlines to provide food and drinking water no later than two hours after leaving the gate.
Copa also failed to report the tarmac delay, with the DOT finding out about the delay after two consumers filed complaints with the department, the DOT said.
According to the DOT, Virgin America was fined for failing to notify passengers in a plane delayed at the gate that they could leave the aircraft. The July 18 flight to San Francisco was delayed for two hours and 16 minutes at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, reported the DOT.