Comair Fined for Holiday Snafu

 - July 5, 2007, 5:48 AM

The Department of Transportation has fined Comair $75,000 for misleading passengers about the cause of the rash of Christmas Day 2004 flight cancellations that left thousands stranded. A flood of schedule changes resulting from an ice storm caused the computer failure that ultimately resulted in the cancellation of 1,100 flights that day. However, investigators found that airline employees deceptively told many passengers that the weather directly led to the cancellations, and that therefore Comair didn’t have to pay for hotel and other accommodations. As part of its agreement with the DOT, Comair does not have to admit wrongdoing and could avoid paying two-thirds of the fine if the department receives no similar complaints over the next 14 months. It could also avoid paying the remaining $25,000 if it spends money on extra accommodations for stranded passengers over the next year.