WASHINGTON, D.C.: The U.S. Transportation Department fined United Airlines for violating federal rules on long tarmac delays, at a cost of $1.9 million on Friday.
This was the largest fine of its kind ever imposed, following delays that 3,218 passengers suffered through.
United was ordered to ensure there would be no similar violations in the future.
According to the department, between December 2015 and February, United allowed 25 flights to remain on the tarmac for prolonged periods without allowing passengers to deplane.
United said Friday it remains "committed to fully meeting all DOT rules and will continue identifying and implementing improvements in how we manage difficult operating conditions."
United noted that "ultimately, only 25 out of nearly 8 million flights operated by United" and its partners warranted "enforcement action" over more than five years.
Carriers are generally not allowed to keep their aircraft on the tarmac for more than three hours for domestic flights and four hours for international flights, without providing passengers an opportunity to deplane.
United must pay $950,000 of the fine, as United was credited with $750,000 paid in compensation to passengers.
The Transportation Department said $200,000 of the assessed penalty shall be credited to United to develop "a diversion management tool which improves United's Network Operations Center's overall situational awareness of system-wide diversions and better allows United to avoid the over-saturation of airports with diversion flights."