Continental Airlines Fined

The Aviation Enforcement Office (AEO) fined Continental Airlines and ExpressJet Airlines $100,000 for their roles in keeping passengers on board Continental Express flight 2816 overnight at Rochester International Airport on August 8, 2009. Continental must also provide a full refund to each passenger and also offer passengers additional compensation to materially acknowledge their discomfort.

Mesaba Airlines was also fined $75,000. Mesaba provided ground handling for the flight.

Flight 2816 was en route from Houston to Minneapolis carrying 47 passengers when thunderstorms forced it to divert to Rochester. The airport closed and a Mesaba employee refused to open the terminal for the stranded passengers, who remaind on the tarnac overnight for 5 1/2 hours.

The passengers spent an uncomfortable night in the 50-seat jet with babies crying and a foul odor emanating from the toilet. They were allowed off the plane in the morning and later got back on for a short flight to Minneapolis-St. Paul.

 This unpresidented move should send a signal to the rest of the airline industry that airlines must respect the rights of air travelers.

Down the Thanksgiving Road – Mike


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