The incident caused hundreds of passengers to remain on the planes during a storm. At that time thunderstorms were rolling through the Chicago area. The passengers were kept on the planes for hours while the storms rolled through.
According to a story in the Chicago Sun-Times, the FAA appears to be trying to send a warning to other airlines just before the holiday travel season and the winter months come that traditionally have brought about more flight delays. The FAA stated that they have decided to fine American Eagle $900,000 for the incident in May.
During the time that the storms were rolling through, the airline stranded about 15 flights. The planes were stranded for over three hours on May 29. On those planes were over 600 passengers.
The FAA stated that the airline had to pay $650,000 within 30 days. Of that, as much as $250,000 can be credited on refunds and other compensation already given out to passengers on the flights.
American Eagle has defended what happened on May 29. They blame the crowded airport traffic at O’Hare International airport due to the slow moving thunderstorm system. However, of all of the airlines that flew out of O’Hare that day, only American Eagle has significant delays.
The history of American Eagle as far as airport delays has not been stellar for 2011. Already the airline has had 16 delays of over 3 hours. That is twice as many as the airline behind them, Delta.