- How many hours the flight was delayed
- How much money United Airlines had to give away to compensate the passengers
Federal regulators have fined United Airlines $1.9 million for allowing multiple flights to sit on the ground for hours, the largest fine imposed by the government for such long delays. The Transportation Department said Friday that the 25 incidents occurred between December 2015 and February of this year. More than 3,200 passengers were trapped on planes without being given a chance to disembark, the department said. In a 2019 incident, for example, a United flight headed for Chicago was diverted to an airport in Wisconsin because of a winter storm and sat on the tarmac for more than four hours without passengers being allowed to exit the aircraft.
Federal rules require airlines to give passengers a chance to return to the terminal if a plane on a domestic flight sits on the ground for at least three hours — four hours in the case of international flights. Exceptions are allowed for safety, security or air traffic control problems. United was ordered to pay $950,000. The airline was given credit of $750,000 for compensating passengers on delayed flights and $200,000 for the cost of developing a tool to improve management of diverted flights.