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Delta fined $90,000 for inadequate food service during tarmac delays

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by: Kelly Yamanouchi, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The federal government is fining Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines $90,000 for not offering passengers adequate food during long tarmac delays in Atlanta and New York.

A consent order issued Thursday by the U.S. Department of Transportation says that during lengthy tarmac delays last July on two flights from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and two flights from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, “the evidence indicates that limited or no food service was provided.”

Federal rules require that airlines provide “adequate food and water no later than two hours after an aircraft leaves the gate if the aircraft remains on the tarmac.”

But the DOT says that didn’t happen on the flights from New York to Atlanta and Spain’s Malaga airport, and from Atlanta to Greenville-Spartanburg and Portland, Maine.

On the Atlanta to Greenville-Spartanburg flight July 21, “it appears that Delta failed to have adequate provisions onboard to provide snack service to all passengers during the delay,” according to the DOT.

And for the Atlanta to Portland, Maine flight on the same day, evidence “indicates that Delta provided only water to the passengers onboard before the tarmac delay exceeded two hours.”

The carrier responded that passengers were not kept on the tarmac for more than three hours without the opportunity to get off the plane for any of the four flights.

However, Delta said it “acknowledges and regrets that the manner of distribution of snacks was not ideal.” The airline consented to the cease-and-desist order and the $90,000 fine.

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