Department of Transportation Fines Southwest $1.6 Million for Violating Tarmac Delay Rule

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) this week announced that Southwest Airlines is being charged with violating federal rules involving lengthy tarmac delays last January. Southwest failed to offer passengers on 16 aircraft delayed at Chicago Midway International Airport (Midway) the opportunity to deplane within three hours of arrival and failed to have sufficient staff available to implement its Tarmac Delay Contingency Plan. DOT fined Southwest $1.6 million and ordered the airline to cease and desist from further violations. This is the largest civil penalty that the Department has assessed a carrier for violating the DOT’s tarmac delay rules. “Airline passengers have rights, and the Department’s tarmac delay rules are meant to prevent passengers from being stuck on an aircraft on the ground for hours on end,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We have aggressively enforced, and will continue to aggressively enforce, our tarmac delay rule to...

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