Southwest Airlines fined $1.6 million for violating passenger rights

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Southwest Airlines learned on Thursday how costly it can be to violate the Passenges Bill of Rights.

The U.S. Transportation Department has fined the airline $1.6 million for holding people for hours on the tarmac during a major weather delay in Chicago last year.

People on 16 different flights were cooped up for hours on their planes because Southwest didn't have the staff to accommodate them in the terminal.

The fine is the largest ever assessed for a tarmac delay. The government said it would continue to enforce the law aggressively.
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