Airline Frontier faces one of the largest fines ever given for tarmac-delays that occurred after a winter storm this last December. A winter storm that hit during the holiday season delayed many flights in Denver and resulted in some planes staying on the tarmac for more than three hours. The DOT requires that a airline experiencing long delays on an aircraft with more than 30 people on it must also provide food, water, and make sure that the bathrooms are in working order. Once the delay has reached three hours, passengers must be given the option to get off the plane.
Twelve frontier flights were found guilty this last holiday season and Frontier was handed a fine of $1.5 million. The longest flight delay was flight 418 from Denver to Atlanta lasting a whopping 4 hours and 25 minutes of time. The only fines for tarmac delays given by the DOT larger than Frontier’s this year was the $1.6 million fine given to both Southwest Airlines and American airlines in 2015.
Frontier will only be paying $600,000 in fines due to the $1.2 million Frontier spent compensating passengers affected by the delayed flights. The problem originated in Denver where 40 percent of Frontier’s network passes through. The winter storm that was expected to snow much less than 8 inches was the root of delays and created the ripple affect through the airline.
This fine isn’t the only problem that Frontier has faced in the past couple of months. In July, Frontier was found to be kicking passengers off of oversold flights and not properly assisting disabled passengers. The DOT responded by stamping a fine of $400,000 on the airline. Similary, last month Frontier was fined just $40,000 for failing to provide their customers information about compensation for being kicked off a flight or problems that could arise from luggage.
On a positve note, Frontier has stated that they are committed to following the rules set in place by the DOT. One adjustment to better abide by the rules includes pre-canceling more flights in anticipation of weather events. Overall, Frontier appears to have misaligned with the DOT expectations of how an airline should operate. Time will show if they have learned their lesson after this historic fine from tarmac delays.