American Airlines Fined for Essentially Keeping Passengers Hostage

EQRoy /
EQRoy /

Finally, a lengthy investigation into the delay and essentially imprisonment on the Tarmac that occurred on 43 flights between 2018 and 2021 is over. Now, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has fined American Airlines (AA) $4.1 million for not allowing people to disembark the plane during extensive delays. Held for three hours or more, these 5,821 passengers were not allowed to de-plane at all.

This is a direct and flagrant violation of the regulations for ground delays that were imposed by the DOT. Considering that these rules were implemented around 2013, they cannot claim ignorance or a lack of ability to adapt and retrain. These standards are common knowledge and something the American people know all too well about. As the Associated Press recalled, in the hearing, the DOT proved there were zero safety concerns during any of the 43 delays.

Taking the record as the biggest fine against an airline to date, it came as part of a settlement where half of the fine would be due within 30 days, and the other half was written off as a result of claims they paid out to passengers. Which divided equally means they got a whopping $352.12 for their efforts.

Naturally, President Biden’s lapdog, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, couldn’t resist an opportunity to have himself in the news, and he offered up his two pennies on the subject. “This is the latest action in our continued drive to enforce the rights of airline passengers.”

Primarily occurring at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, AA wasted no time blaming the problem on maintaining gate availability and also cited thunderstorms as a reason for the frequent delays. With 7.7 million flights operating during that timeframe, the airline was also quick to try and play the odds with those figures. Timidly, they will admit there is a problem and they need to make some adjustments but aren’t ready to provide any tangible solutions.

If you’ve ever flown through their hub in Dallas-Ft Worth, you will have seen that one of the biggest problems with the airport is its design. Thanks to the layout, runway, tower, train, and other delays are incredibly common, and that translates to problems on the tarmac. While the original designer built something architecturally impressive, it has proven to be less than functional, and while many airlines have worked to have workarounds in place, American Airlines continuously comes up short.

Mind you, part of this is the fault of the way the liberals pushed for accountability with the DOT over the years. For them, it was acceptable for a place to sit on the tarmac even though it would have hours before it could depart. This idea of over-clocking gates or not making use of a full airport so they could trim logistics needed was a cost-saving measure. One that they figured could be negated with frequent flier miles, food vouchers, and drink coupons.

This kind of passing the buck is a partial (albeit not the main) reason the cost of flights has gone up so dramatically over the years. The American people have ultimately paid the price for their arrogance and miscalculations. They have not done what they were supposed to do and protect the American consumer, and instead, they just continue to bend them over, flight after flight.

Those who were trapped on the planes told tales of broken AC, poor to no air circulation, no food or drink service, being forced to remain in their seats, and in some cases, broken or overflowing toilets. In some cases, after hours on the tarmac, they are required to perform a crew change. That means they get to return to the gate, deplane, get a new crew, and reboard. Just to be told they had to wait again.

American Airlines, they were Spirit Airlines before Spirit congealed in the gutter.