CHICAGO — United Airlines, Inc. will pay more than $1 million in fines for stranding passengers on 13 planes for more than three hours on the tarmac during a stormy day last year at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, federal officials announced Friday.
The $1.1 million fine is the largest levied against an airline since 2010, when new rules took effect that bar airlines from stranding passengers on the tarmac for longer than three hours without giving them the opportunity to leave the plane, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The delays involved 13 United and United Express planes on July 13, 2012, a day when severe thunderstorms and lightning had caused several ramp closures and disrupted the movement of aircraft at O’Hare, the nation’s second-largest airport. Toilets weren’t working on two of those planes.
The airline exceeded the three-hour limit by as much as an hour and 17 minutes. In addition, it didn’t contact airport personnel or other airlines for help, according to the department.