DOT issues first fines -- $900,000 -- for long tarmac delays

The Department of Transportation has ordered American Eagle to pay $900,000 in fines for stranding passengers on numerous planes for hours at Chicago O'Hare Airport in May. The penalties are the first imposed by the federal regulators for violating rules that took effect 20 months ago, designed to inhibit airlines from leaving customers cooped up on planes at airports during bad weather. The airline agreed to the fine and apologized to customers for their treatment. The AP's Joan Lowy has a thorough story about the incident in Chicago and the rules, found here.