NAPA, Calif., Nov. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Flying Public has a reason to celebrate!
The U.S. Department of Transportation today levied total civil penalties of $175,000 against Continental Airlines, Express Jet, and Mesaba, a code share partner of Delta Airlines, for their roles in causing the passengers on board Continental Express flight 2816 to remain on the aircraft at Rochester International Airport for an “unreasonable” period of time on Aug. 8, 2009.
“This fine is not only a first, but $175,000.00 is dissuasive enough that U.S. Domestic airlines will really have to think about their behavior before putting passengers in harm’s way. No longer can they sit people in hot, sweaty metal tubes without basic life sustaining services indefinitely, without the threat of penalties,” said Kate Hanni, founder and executive director of FlyersRights.org, adding “The DOT appears to be willing to protect us, for that we are grateful.”
FlyersRights.org was represented by Kate Hanni on an important, groundbreaking task force to Develop Contingency Plans for Long on Ground Delays. Having our voice at the table was important to the process of determining what a “reasonable” amount of time is to put people in these “unreasonable” conditions that we keep experiencing at the hands of the Commercial Air Carriers. We hope that Secretary Ray LaHood will again appoint Kate Hanni to any future committees or “Blue Ribbon Panels” designed to discuss the future of aviation in the domestic U.S. “Nothing is more important to our membership than a robust, U.S. domestic air transportation system that also protects the passengers; who often feel that they are nothing more than an afterthought.”
“We also look forward to the rulemaking that has been in process at DOT for 2 years that may offer some relief for airline passengers stuck in planes.”