Well, these are some expensive pretzels.
Delta was fined $90,000 for failing to provide snacks during multiple extended tarmac delays last summer. According to USA Today, the delays in question affected flights departing New York and Atlanta in July:
The two flights with the delays at New York’s JFK airport were headed to Madrid on July 1 and to Atlanta on July 8. The two flights with delays at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on July 21 were headed to Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport in South Carolina and to Portland International Jetport in Maine.
While water was provided during each of the delays, federal investigators found that snacks for the Madrid flight were placed in the galley, but not distributed to all passengers. Snacks were provided on the Atlanta flight while the plane’s door was open, but not during the two hours and 11 minutes when passengers couldn’t get off, investigators said.
Only water was provided during the two-hour delay for the Portland flight and there were inadequate provisions for all passengers on the South Carolina flight, investigators said.
The DOT requires carriers to “provide adequate food and potable drinking water for passengers within two hours of the aircraft being delayed on the tarmac and to maintain operable lavatories and, if necessary, provide medical attention.”
Delta issued a statement expressing “regret about how snacks were distributed.”
It’s not clear what happened in these cases, which is interesting considering snacks were physically on (or at least near) the plane. The airline’s statement makes it sound like the problem was distribution, as if the airline staff didn’t realize it was required to hand out the snacks. That would be remarkable, considering the rule is several years old. Either way, $90k is coming out of Delta’s pocket.
It’s worth noting that prolonged tarmac delays are exceedingly rare. Only 2 were reported this past November, the most recent month for which data is available.
Readers, have you ever been stuck in a lengthy tarmac delay?