jayeshrulz From India, joined Apr 2007, 1022 posts, RR: 2 Posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 7814 times:
Washington: The Department of Transportation said Monday it has fined a regional affiliate of American Airlines $900,000 for keeping hundreds of passengers cooped up for hours on planes in Chicago earlier this year, a clear warning to airlines on the eve of the holiday travel season that similar incidents won't be tolerated.
American Eagle Airlines had tarmac delays of more than three hours on 15 flights arriving at O'Hare International Airport on May 29, the department said in a statement. A total of 608 passengers were aboard the delayed flights.
The airline must pay $650,000 of the fine within 30 days, the department said. But up to $250,000 can be credited for refunds, vouchers, and frequent flyer mile awards provided to the passengers on the 15 flights, as well as to passengers on future flights that violate the three-hour rule, the department said.
The department implemented a new rule in April 2010 limiting tarmac delays on domestic flights to three hours. After that, airlines must either return to a gate or provide passengers who wish to leave planes with some other means of safely getting off. Airlines that violate the rule can be fined as much as $27,500 per passenger.
Slap on the wrist perhaps, if the DOT had followed this to the letter it would have been over a $10 million fine, probably a lot more.
This occurred because Eagle was trying a more efficient ramp staffing model (read less rampers) and they got backed up and unable to move airplanes. This isn't unique to AMR it happens at a lot of airlines (not this particular scenario but inefficiencies in the operation like this). When employees see stuff like this on a daily basis they are reluctant to give out concessions. There are millions in potential fuel savings alone if we never had to wait on rampers when we came to airports. When you multiply the fuel wasted by sitting short of a gate for a few minutes (even with only one engine running) across hundreds of flights a day it adds up.
mhkansan From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 553 posts, RR: 1 Reply 4, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 7202 times:
Eagle has plenty of unrestricted cash and from my understanding they budget a reserve amount for fines each year - I hope every airline does it, it would be nearly impossible to do everything correctly all the time in this industry.
Wait a second 608 passengers held for at least 3 hours in an RJ and they ONLY get a $900,000 fine. My calculation shows $27,500 * 608 is $16,720,000. Why is the FAA not charging the full fine? Did some congressman make a phone call to the FAA?
I am sick of airlines holding passengers hostage. If you can't operate the flight (including disembarking at the destination) don't operate the flight.
MikeCT From United States of America, joined May 2008, 138 posts, RR: 0 Reply 14, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 6391 times:
Quoting N62NA (Reply 8): While in general I don't like to see airlines fined, in the case of these 3+ hour hostage situations I think it is quite appropriate. Looking forward to the upcoming B6 BDL fine.
Didn't it come out that B6 wasn't entirely responsible? One particular pilot was heard on the radio practically begging for a gate, stairs, anything.
That being said I don't know if it was ground handling that B6 was responsible for causing this problem, or the airport authority. If the airport was at fault here, I don't think the airline should be held responsible.
aerorobnz From Rwanda, joined Feb 2001, 6769 posts, RR: 13 Reply 18, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 5643 times:
Quoting adh214 (Reply 13): I am sick of airlines holding passengers hostage. If you can't operate the flight (including disembarking at the destination) don't operate the flight.
Airlines are damned if they do and damned if they don't.
If Airlines operate the flight, which then gets held on the ramp they are fined, if they don't operate the flight or return to gate to allow passengers off then the passengers will still complain and they still have to compensate the passengers anyway
Add any civil suits for not getting the passengers where they need for the holidays/business appointments etc. In other words the flight becomes completely unsustainable and unprofitable to operate because the costs are worth much more than the revenue of operating the route at certain tumultuous times of the year.
What the rules should require from the airlines is that they issue a warning at check in/before boarding that there may be weather related gate delays of xxx hours and anyone wishing to offload themselves for rebooking on another flight now can do so free of charge and that by boarding you waive the right to compensation if the flight is within the delay time specified by the airline and DOT.
Besides, Airports are the ones who control the infrastructure ultimately and it is their airport planning that has failed. If you travel to a properly designed airport in most parts of the world, they have far more gates than they do flights, plenty of airstairs, buses and enough space to store extra aircraft safely without stuffing up the operation too much. This is where things can be fixed, not this punitive damages nonsense. If airports cannot increase these requirements then they should have to reduce movements at the airport until they get to a figure that allows them to provide the required percentage of surplus facilities without expanding.
Obviously the increased cost to Airports should be passed on to airlines and passengers ultimately, as it is for them that they would be providing the service. User pays, and air travel is still unsustainably cheap.
Either Passengers should suck it up and accept it as a compromise in order to get lower fares, or pay the extra cost on fares to get the facilities they demand. In much of the third world, long hours aboard crowded transport is commonplace and perfectly acceptable - Passengers who know the way things are, know they won't be fed etc should always be looking after themselves by bringing their own rations anyway, and they are just as negligent as the airlines for not preparing adequately IMO.
Jpax From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 1017 posts, RR: 0 Reply 19, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 5547 times:
Quoting MikeCT (Reply 14): I am sick of airlines holding passengers hostage. If you can't operate the flight (including disembarking at the destination) don't operate the flight.
We can't foresee how big of a sh*tshow a day can turn into. We board our planes and push off the gate in hopes to get out of limbo. As an EWR based pilot, I'm a frequent visitor of the ballpark/penalty box/dog house/etc. If there are no gates, there are no gates. If there is no equipment to assist you, there is no equipment to assist you. Despite everyone's best efforts, sometimes the fury of mother nature overwhelms an airport and everybody loses. The most you can do is try make the best of a bad situation. Keep yourself hydrated, have a snack if possible, put on your iPod, and we'll keep you updated from up front, even if that means there is no news.
spyglass From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 105 posts, RR: 1 Reply 20, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 1 day ago) and read 5377 times:
The obvious answer is to add several dozen gates at the big hubs to be used solely for weather delays, spend a few millions on extra tugs, bag carts, busses and emergency situation personnel to handle this. If you could stop time and keep the ensuing flights & pax from continuing to show at the airport, and the planes didn't hafta be somewhere else to operate more flts, it'd be easy. But it's like waves to the shore....the flow never stops, even if the flts do.
The anathema in all this is, as mentioned, that the "government" gets the fines, and no entity on earth is more fiscally foolish than the US govt and its branches. Better if it went to the pax....
flymia From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 6796 posts, RR: 6 Reply 23, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 1 day ago) and read 5272 times:
Quoting adh214 (Reply 13): Wait a second 608 passengers held for at least 3 hours in an RJ and they ONLY get a $900,000 fine. My calculation shows $27,500 * 608 is $16,720,000. Why is the FAA not charging the full fine? Did some congressman make a phone call to the FAA?
You can't be serious? These fines are dumb and insane enough. 16,720,000 for that would never hold up in court anyway.
Quoting aerorobnz (Reply 18): What the rules should require from the airlines is that they issue a warning at check in/before boarding that there may be weather related gate delays of xxx hours and anyone wishing to offload themselves for rebooking on another flight now can do so free of charge and that by boarding you waive the right to compensation if the flight is within the delay time specified by the airline and DOT.
Great idea. I think it is insane that the airlines are getting fined with trying to provide a service. I also think it is insane since the government (county,state,federal) are the ones who control the airports to begin with. Maybe if the FAA would update their ATC system already the delays would not be so long. Airlines will just have to start canceling more flights that might get to their destinations if these outrageous fines continue. And of course than the airline loses again, angry passengers. It is a lose lose for airlines.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
T5towbar From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 485 posts, RR: 1 Reply 24, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 1 day ago) and read 5191 times:
Quoting spyglass (Reply 20): The obvious answer is to add several dozen gates at the big hubs to be used solely for weather delays, spend a few millions on extra tugs, bag carts, busses and emergency situation personnel to handle this. If you could stop time and keep the ensuing flights & pax from continuing to show at the airport, and the planes didn't hafta be somewhere else to operate more flts, it'd be easy. But it's like waves to the shore....the flow never stops, even if the flts do.
That won't work. You can't designate gates because there isn't enough of them in the first place. No one wants to be held hostage, but on weather days, things happen. Damned if you do, and damned if you don't. Airstairs are the same. You have to worry about lawsuits if someone slips down an icy step. Also people watch the news and the airline is saying that the flight is still going out on time. It's a crapshoot when you get there and find that the flight is delayed and may or may not fly out. So what does a pax do?
Quoting Jpax (Reply 19): As an EWR based pilot, I'm a frequent visitor of the ballpark/penalty box/dog house/etc. If there are no gates, there are no gates.
The Ball Park really gets filled up fast on weather days. Most of the deicing is done there, I think. They don't want to block the alleyways. And its a crazy situation on the ramp on weather days too.
Quoting norcal (Reply 12): Nope. New "more efficient" ramp staffing model known as dynamic manning. Basically management somehow decided less rampers could somehow cover the ramp with zero delays. Big mistake.
Sounds like the old "staff management" we used to have. Some suit upstairs thinks up this stuff and it never works. Granted we do a lot with less, but when the delays start racking up because we are short, then the idiots upstairs figures it out.
A comment from an Ex CON: Work Hard.....Fly Standby!
25 fat-g4: I would pull the slide after sitting on the Tarmac for 3 hours. Let alone 7. Do everyone a favor!
26 C680: Or a handful of stairs and busses, a snowplow, and couple of big guys to carry handicaped down the stairs....
27 N62NA: Just curious... about what % of the time do you visit the penalty box (both at EWR and at the originating airport when flying into EWR).
28 thrufru: Funny you should say that. A direct result of these new rules as reported by NBC news this evening (among other sources) is a significant increase in
29 norcal: Those slides probably cost close to half a million each to reinstall not mention lost time and revenue in mx. Plus a passenger could break a leg or i
30 aerorobnz: Not to mention in breach of FAA law, so there would be a major fine/prison time and some serious time on the passenger blacklist if the airline pushe
31 okie: Well I can just tell you that for someone that spends considerable time in the air that generally speaking the airlines are doing a pretty good job.
32 T5towbar: Exactly. You will see tons of cancellations. The past couple of snowstorms earlier this year (and Xmas of last year) showed that. Better to pre-cance
33 rfields5421: The fine amount is UP TO $27,500 per passenger. It is not a set in stone amount. The authorities are able to make the fine amount based on several fa
34 Mir: You seem to be under the assumption that airlines send flights out knowing that they're not going to have to sit on the ground for hours on end. But
35 N62NA: Not me. There's got to be a better system than finding out within minutes of departure - after everyone is sitting on the plane - that there's going
36 fat-g4: I remember a flight in June, from MCO to DFW there was a delay after we already started taxing because of military activity over the gulf. Had it real
37 Mir: First of all, the delays mentioned in the article are arrival delays, which are a different story. Second of all, I doubt the airline would have boar
38 N62NA: This happens all the time with AA at MIA on flights to LGA and EWR. I've lived it. I guess that's the thinking but you still sit out there midfield a
39 Mir: I'm not saying it doesn't happen - I live in NYC, I know it can be difficult sometimes to get in. I'm saying that AA (or any other airline) doesn't l
40 N770WD: DOT says they can fine up to $27,500 per passenger. But it's very debatable whether they can. As DOT said on Monday in the consent order with America
41 NorthstarBoy: Just curious, do E145s come with built in air stairs? If so, why not use them to get the pax off and have the flight attendants/pilots/rampers walk th
42 rfields5421: Some do and some don't. American / American Eagle have been moving toward no air stairs because they like to board the CRJ and ERJ aircraft at jetway