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DOT fines airlines for overnight stranding in Minnesota

rene

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This is Total BS

The fact that Mesaba was fined is just total BS. They had no contract with Express Jet, no commitment to provide services, no equipment to provide services, there were four NWA jets diverted and on the ground. Express Jet had about 40 alternaive airports to choose from yet Mesaba gets fined?

What is wrong with this picture? What am I missing?
 

ERfly

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The fact that Mesaba was fined is just total BS. They had no contract with Express Jet, no commitment to provide services, no equipment to provide services, there were four NWA jets diverted and on the ground. Express Jet had about 40 alternaive airports to choose from yet Mesaba gets fined?

What is wrong with this picture? What am I missing?

Except for the fact that they said they would prior to the diversion and then left the crew high and dry when they got there.
 

Full of LUV

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Dontcha See

The fact that Mesaba was fined is just total BS. They had no contract with Express Jet, no commitment to provide services, no equipment to provide services, there were four NWA jets diverted and on the ground. Express Jet had about 40 alternaive airports to choose from yet Mesaba gets fined?

What is wrong with this picture? What am I missing?

Mesaba should have had at least 4 extra people on staff at all times to cover for COEX's ill planning, lack of prepardness, and generally poor decision making.
Should the flight have left IAH at all?
 

Long Time Gone

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The fact that Mesaba was fined is just total BS. They had no contract with Express Jet, no commitment to provide services, no equipment to provide services, there were four NWA jets diverted and on the ground. Express Jet had about 40 alternaive airports to choose from yet Mesaba gets fined?

What is wrong with this picture? What am I missing?

Um......"The airport closed and a Mesaba employee refused to open the terminal for the stranded passengers."

Regardless if Mesaba has a contract with ExpressJet or not, if they are the only ones at the airport and the only ones with access to the terminal to allow that aircraft to deplane, then yes, they do have a responsibility.

It's referred to as being accountable for your actions, regardless if it's "your job" or not. To you, that's probably something new in life.
 

ASA_Aviator

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Um......"The airport closed and a Mesaba employee refused to open the terminal for the stranded passengers."

Regardless if Mesaba has a contract with ExpressJet or not, if they are the only ones at the airport and the only ones with access to the terminal to allow that aircraft to deplane, then yes, they do have a responsibility.

It's referred to as being accountable for your actions, regardless if it's "your job" or not. To you, that's probably something new in life.

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y282/KappaJota/NotMyJob.jpg
 

hmmurdock

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Um......"The airport closed and a Mesaba employee refused to open the terminal for the stranded passengers."

Regardless if Mesaba has a contract with ExpressJet or not, if they are the only ones at the airport and the only ones with access to the terminal to allow that aircraft to deplane, then yes, they do have a responsibility.

It's referred to as being accountable for your actions, regardless if it's "your job" or not. To you, that's probably something new in life.


Actually, Mesaba offered assistance to expressjet and they declined.
 

Nevets

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DOT 182-09
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Contact: Bill Mosley
Tel: (202) 366-4570

DOT Issues Precedent-Setting Fines for Rochester, MN Tarmac Delay Incident

The U.S. Department of Transportation today levied a total civil penalty of $100,000 against Continental Airlines and ExpressJet Airlines for their roles in causing the passengers on board Continental Express flight 2816 to remain on the aircraft at Rochester International Airport for an unreasonable period of time on Aug. 8, 2009. Continental also provided a full refund to each passenger and also offered each passenger additional compensation to tangibly acknowledge their time and discomfort. In addition, DOT assessed a civil penalty of $75,000 against Mesaba Airlines, which provided ground handling for the flight, for its role in the incident.

These precedent-setting enforcement actions involve consent orders that reflect a settlement by the carriers of violations alleged by DOT’s Aviation Enforcement Office. They are the first enforcement orders punishing carriers for extended tarmac delays, as well as the first time a carrier acting as a ground handler for another airline has been punished for failing to properly help passengers leave an aircraft during an unreasonably long tarmac delay.

“I hope that this sends a signal to the rest of the airline industry that we expect airlines to respect the rights of air travelers,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We will also use what we have learned from this investigation to strengthen protections for airline passengers subjected to long tarmac delays.”

The Aviation Enforcement Office’s investigation found that all three carriers violated the law that prohibits unfair and deceptive practices in air transportation for their respective roles in the incident, in which a Continental Express flight from Houston to Minneapolis/St. Paul operated by ExpressJet was diverted to Rochester due to bad weather in Minneapolis. The aircraft reached Rochester about 12:30 a.m. and the passengers were stranded aboard the aircraft until approximately 6:15 a.m. when they were finally deplaned into the terminal.

Prior to diverting to Rochester, ExpressJet contacted Mesaba personnel at Rochester to request assistance at the airport, which Mesaba, the only airline staffing the airport at the time, agreed to provide. Shortly after the flight arrived in Rochester, the ExpressJet captain asked the Mesaba employee handling the flight whether the passengers could deplane into the airport terminal. In response to this initial inquiry, and other subsequent inquiries, the captain was told that passengers could not enter the terminal because there were no Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners on duty at that hour, despite the fact that TSA rules would have allowed the passengers to enter the airport as long as they remained in a sterile area.

Continental and ExpressJet, in separate orders, were found to have violated the prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices in air transportation because ExpressJet failed to carry out a provision of Continental’s customer service commitment requiring that, if a ground delay is approaching three hours, its operations center will determine if departure is expected within a reasonable time, and if not the carrier will take action as soon as possible to deplane passengers. ExpressJet also failed to take timely actions required by its procedures, including notifying senior ExpressJet officials and providing appropriate Continental officials with notice of the delay. Continental was found to have engaged in an unfair and deceptive practice since, as the carrier marketing the flight 2816, Continental ultimately is responsible to its passengers on that flight.

The consent order covering Mesaba finds that the carrier engaged in an unfair and deceptive practice when it provided inaccurate information to ExpressJet about deplaning passengers from flight 2816.

In November 2008, the Department proposed a rule to enhance airline passenger protections, including a provision that would require airlines to adopt contingency plans for lengthy tarmac delays and incorporate them in their contracts of carriage. A final rule is expected by the end of this calendar year.

The consent orders issued today are available on the Internet at www.regulations.gov, docket DOT-OST-2009-0001.
 

Long Time Gone

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Actually, Mesaba offered assistance to expressjet and they declined.

You seem to be the only one stating that. All other information sources, including the DOT, state that Mesaba wouldn't allow the passengers to deplane into the terminal due to lack of TSA.
 

nerjdriver

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The fact that Mesaba was fined is just total BS. They had no contract with Express Jet, no commitment to provide services, no equipment to provide services, there were four NWA jets diverted and on the ground. Express Jet had about 40 alternaive airports to choose from yet Mesaba gets fined?

What is wrong with this picture? What am I missing?

You are missing quite a bit bud.

1. You were not flying the airplane, so Mr Glass house which alternate would you have gone to?'

2. A "social contract" of sorts exists between carriers, you better believe an XJT station would have taken care of another carrier, but the bill they recieved would more than cover their costs.
 

jmreii

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These companies were fined for a lack of common sense, they should have been fined more. I hate stupidity.
 

thepotato232

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Actually, it seems to me that the ExpressJet and Mesaba both did what they did because they were afraid to incur the wrath of The Blueberry Police. Given the frightening amount of power given to those waddling idiots and their tendency to redefine their own rules and methods on a near-daily basis, I'm inclined to look at this mess from a slightly different angle:

Gate agent doesn't know the TSA rules for this situation, so plays it safe in the interest of keeping his/her job. Nobody else involved in the evening's debacle knows the TSA rules well enough to educate the gate agent. Suppose the people involved in this mess let the pax off the airplane, and the TSA shows up in the morning and throws a tantrum because they weren't able to oversee the whole process? Or, God forbid, one of the pax wanders outside the "sterile area"? Everyone on duty that night did exactly what their airlines and their government have conditioned them to do when on the job - they covered their asses.

Granted, if I'd been responsible for that flight, that door would have been opened. I'm just not sure anyone's considered how thoroughly airlines have been set up for just this kind of situation.
 
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captainv

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Everyone on duty that night did exactly what their airlines and their government have conditioned them to do when on the job - they covered their asses.

Although there's plenty of FAIL to go around here, I still can't fathom a flight crew spending the night on board an airplane full of passengers and then, after that nightmare, electing to fly the airplane. Not the flight crew's responsibility to figure it out if others won't play ball. Call the tower and evacuate. Let them figure it out.
 

johndog

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Actually, it seems to me that the ExpressJet and Mesaba both did what they did because they were afraid to incur the wrath of The Blueberry Police. Given the frightening amount of power given to those waddling idiots and their tendency to redefine their own rules and methods on a near-daily basis, I'm inclined to look at this mess from a slightly different angle:

Gate agent doesn't know the TSA rules for this situation, so plays it safe in the interest of keeping his/her job. Nobody else involved in the evening's debacle knows the TSA rules well enough to educate the gate agent. Suppose the people involved in this mess let the pax off the airplane, and the TSA shows up in the morning and throws a tantrum because they weren't able to oversee the whole process? Or, God forbid, one of the pax wanders outside the "sterile area"? Everyone on duty that night did exactly what their airlines and their government have conditioned them to do when on the job - they covered their asses.

Granted, if I'd been responsible for that flight, that door would have been opened. I'm just not sure anyone's considered how thoroughly airlines have been set up for just this kind of situation.

Excellent points.

I cannot even run in to get a sandwhich or cup of coffee now in CVG because TSA requires the door of the aircraft and the ramp pulled away if everyone leaves the aircraft. This ramp is huge and requires ground staff. Whom are busy and have better things to do than this. Then upon our return the ground staff has to come back over to move the large ramp back to the aircraft, and I an additional set of stairs over to the galley door as we cannot usually open the jet way door from the outside. It's a serious pain in the a$$.

And for the first flight of the day the CA, instead of FO (my airline) is required to open all the stupid a$$ little hatches (outside) when He/She should be (inside) with the paperwork and the checks and all the other duties that are time consuming in the morning and directly pertaning to flight safety. Not a stupid a$$ what if scenario thought up by someone in Washington. All this because of TSA's mission creep from screener replacement to omnipresent security force.

Continuing...

Commute to work in uniform due to overnite kit liquids. Changing once through secutity not allowed (depending where you are.)

when enroute, can't leave the shadow of the aircraft. Mostly a problem for smokers. Cut the security line some places, others no employee line at all like CVG (until recently), others go through ops. Take your Id out here, other places they don't even look at it.

The TSA were at last years superbowl using their profiling "expertise".
Mission creep.....I gurantee it won't stop here.
 

xjlifer

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Actually, it seems to me that the ExpressJet and Mesaba both did what they did because they were afraid to incur the wrath of The Blueberry Police. Given the frightening amount of power given to those waddling idiots and their tendency to redefine their own rules and methods on a near-daily basis, I'm inclined to look at this mess from a slightly different angle:

Gate agent doesn't know the TSA rules for this situation, so plays it safe in the interest of keeping his/her job. Nobody else involved in the evening's debacle knows the TSA rules well enough to educate the gate agent. Suppose the people involved in this mess let the pax off the airplane, and the TSA shows up in the morning and throws a tantrum because they weren't able to oversee the whole process? Or, God forbid, one of the pax wanders outside the "sterile area"? Everyone on duty that night did exactly what their airlines and their government have conditioned them to do when on the job - they covered their asses.

Granted, if I'd been responsible for that flight, that door would have been opened. I'm just not sure anyone's considered how thoroughly airlines have been set up for just this kind of situation.

Dead nuts on.

In the new age of punative zero tollerance TSA and FAA combined with XJ bean counters who would have fired the rampy for spending 1 nickle without approval and you have what happened.
 

rene

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Sorry, I listened to all your explanations and i still don't agree that Mesaba should be fined. I am not sure why Delta isn't fighting this. Probably being politically expedient.

Why did TSA have to be present to deplane the aircraft? Why did the Captain not deplane anyway? Were was Express Jet SOC? What happened to all the NWA diversions on the ground? They went back to MSP. Express Jet couldn't because the crew was illegal. Maybe the flight should never have departed Houston?

Still a BS fine. Accountability sure. Who is holding the DOT and the FAA accountable for ATC delays and lack of infrastructure?
 

Nevets

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Sorry, I listened to all your explanations and i still don't agree that Mesaba should be fined. I am not sure why Delta isn't fighting this. Probably being politically expedient.

Why did TSA have to be present to deplane the aircraft? Why did the Captain not deplane anyway? Were was Express Jet SOC? What happened to all the NWA diversions on the ground? They went back to MSP. Express Jet couldn't because the crew was illegal. Maybe the flight should never have departed Houston?

Still a BS fine. Accountability sure. Who is holding the DOT and the FAA accountable for ATC delays and lack of infrastructure?

This is the official DOT explanation:

Prior to diverting to Rochester, ExpressJet contacted Mesaba personnel at Rochester to request assistance at the airport, which Mesaba, the only airline staffing the airport at the time, agreed to provide. Shortly after the flight arrived in Rochester, the ExpressJet captain asked the Mesaba employee handling the flight whether the passengers could deplane into the airport terminal. In response to this initial inquiry, and other subsequent inquiries, the captain was told that passengers could not enter the terminal because there were no Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners on duty at that hour, despite the fact that TSA rules would have allowed the passengers to enter the airport as long as they remained in a sterile area.

The consent order covering Mesaba finds that the carrier engaged in an unfair and deceptive practice when it provided inaccurate information to ExpressJet about deplaning passengers from flight 2816.
 
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CptMurf

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Sorry, I listened to all your explanations and i still don't agree that Mesaba should be fined. I am not sure why Delta isn't fighting this. Probably being politically expedient.

Why did TSA have to be present to deplane the aircraft? Why did the Captain not deplane anyway? Were was Express Jet SOC? What happened to all the NWA diversions on the ground? They went back to MSP. Express Jet couldn't because the crew was illegal. Maybe the flight should never have departed Houston?

Still a BS fine. Accountability sure. Who is holding the DOT and the FAA accountable for ATC delays and lack of infrastructure?
I agree with you, there was more to the problem, someone had to get punished though. And I guess that was us.

TSA need not be present to deplane, but as stated above. Everyone is scared, because the "Tub Stackers of America" have too much power and influence over our operations. And no one knows their rules, since it seems each airport can change them.

Express Jet SOC was non existent, everything they blamed XJ for could have been handled by their SOC. Just pick up the phone and start waking people up. I'm sure they have the number.

The CA let it all happen. First she wanted to divert to Farmington (which has no airport), then chooses RST (which is not served by their brand). Seems when I choose alternates, I at least choose ones that can service, my aircraft, refuel, print paperwork, etc. Lastly, all the other diversions left for MSP. This crew had an opportunity to leave, but didn't like the weather she was seeing on depature. I won't judge her on that, but her dispatch did say the wx was off of MSP and there was an opportunity.

It was a smack on the hand for us. Overall, it was finacially cheaper that the minimum crew (agents boarding without FA's) fines we received lately.
 
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