The Department of Transportation has slapped United Airlines with a $1.1 million fine for lengthy tarmac delays at Chicago O'Hare International Airport in July of 2012.
In a press release, the DOT said the fine was the largest issued since it instituted a rule that penalizes U.S. carriers for holding a plane with passengers on a tarmac for more than three hours.
"It is unacceptable for passengers to be stranded in planes on the tarmac for hours on end," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "We will continue to require airlines to adopt workable plans to protect passengers from lengthy tarmac delays and carry out these plans when necessary."
United was fined for 13 delays that happened when thunderstorms closed several ramps at O'Hare. Some flights broke the three-hour rule by as little as two minutes, others by as much as 77 minutes.
United, DOT said, will pay $475,000 to the U.S. and use the rest to cover what they paid passengers and to implement "significant corrective actions."
Back in 2011, we told you about the first fine levied against an airline for violation of the 2010 rule. The DOT fined American Eagle $900,000 for 15 planes that sat on Chicago O'Hare's tarmac for more than three hours.