Qantas Airways was fined $90,000 by the Transportation Department on Wednesday for failing to inform passengers that they could leave the plane during a delay at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport in March.
The plane sat at the gate for a long period with the door open, the department said.
“Airlines may not leave passengers stranded indefinitely aboard an aircraft, whether on the tarmac or at the gate, and passengers have a right to know if they are able to leave the plane,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said.
On March 21, Qantas’ flight to Brisbane, Australia, was scheduled to depart at 10 p.m. but returned to the gate three times after receiving mechanical alerts.
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The first time, the plane sat at the gate for more than an hour. The second time, it sat for a little over two hours. The Transportation Department says that during both delays, the door was open and passengers could have deplaned.
The flight was eventually canceled, and passengers disembarked at 3:05 a.m.