Monday, the Department of Transportation announced that United Airlines is being fined $130,000 after the airline failed to inform passengers they could deplane during a five-hour delay. The DOT’s rules on passenger rights took effect in August 2011.
The flight that spurred the DOT to take action was actually scheduled for last May. The plane, scheduled to depart Chicago O’Hare en route to Tokyo, pushed off from the gate just after 12:30 in the afternoon, but returned to the gate before 2:30pm for maintenance. Then, the aircraft closed its doors once more after 3pm, but because of mechanical issues, the flight was cancelled and passengers were finally allowed to deplane at 5:22pm. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement, “It’s very simple – if a plane is delayed at the gate and it’s possible for passengers to leave, the airline must tell them of their rights,” but no such announcement was made and passengers were forced to stay aboard.
Have you ever been stuck on a plane for a long delay? How did you react? How helpful was the crew? Sound off below!