The Department of Transportation (DOT) fined JetBlue $90,000 for not telling passengers that they could deplane (if they wanted to) as they sat on the tarmac for about three hours.
The Star-Ledger reports that the JetBlue flight sat at the gate at JFK for several hours with the door open on March 3. During the delay, passengers were not given the option to get up and leave the plane, which is in violation of air passenger protection rules that the DOT introduced in 2011. According to the DOT, these rules require “notification of opportunity to deplane from an aircraft that is at the gate or another disembarkation area with door open if the opportunity to deplane actually exists.”
In addition, passengers sitting on a flight that is delayed are legally entitled to notifications of the status of their flight every 30 minutes, as well as announcements every 30 minutes that they have the right to deplane from an aircraft if at all possible.
Basically, an airline is not allowed to trap passengers in a plane for a stretch of hours without giving them some options.
JetBlue told The Star-Ledger that it wouldn’t happen again. In a statement, the airline promised, “This is not an example of the JetBlue experience. For this, we fully acknowledge our fault and will comply with the DOT ruling. We now have a solid plan in place.”
Do you think JetBlue got what it deserved?
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