U.S. DOT Fines JetBlue For Violating Tarmac Delay Rules


U.S. Department of Transportation, usually referred to just as DOT, fined JetBlue Airlines due to several tarmac delay violations.

Passengers on domestic flights have the right to deplane after a three-hour delay and those on international ones after four. JetBlue has violated this rule several times per DOT investigation, and hence they have issued a civil penalty.

You can access the DOT”s ruling here.

Here’s an excerpt from the DOT:

This consent order concerns violations by JetBlue Airways Corporation (JetBlue) of 14 CFR Part 259 and 49 U.S.C. §§ 41712 and 42301. Specifically, JetBlue failed to provide for the timely deplanement of passengers during lengthy tarmac delays at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). This order directs JetBlue to cease and desist from future similar violations and assesses the carrier $60,000 in civil penalties.

Here are the full findings:

Download (PDF, 155KB)


The DOT only fined JetBlue $60,000, of which only half is payable now. They should add at least a couple of zeroes for these fines for them to have any impact on airlines’ operations.

These small fines won’t incentivize airlines to follow DOT’s requirements. It is easier to violate them and pay the small fines and take the tiny PR hit that comes with these releases.