NYC Airports To Penalize Passengers Who Cause Flight Delays

In an effort to recoup costs resulting from flights delayed by passengers — and to discourage certain behaviors that cause these delays — the operators of the three major NYC-area airports plan to begin fining travelers who cause planes to stack up on the tarmac.

“We’re going to use every lever at our disposal,” the head of the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey tells the NY Post. “These delays cost thousands of dollars — maybe tens of thousands — each. One Alec Baldwin incident can delay a whole airport for a day with cascading delays.”

He is referring to the actor with the ice-blue eyes who was ejected from an American Airlines flight in Los Angeles because he reportedly refused to stop playing Words With Friends on his phone.

The Port Authority says the thousands of dollars it could end up collecting from problem passengers aren’t intended to be pad the airports’ coffers. Instead, it claims that the majority of the cash would go to the airlines to cover costs related to the delays.

Don’t pay and you could end up being sued in Civil Court in NYC or New Jersey, depending on which airport is involved.

According to the Port Authority, passenger disruptions caused 390 flights to head back to the gate at the three airports in just 2011. Even a 30-60 minute delay can then cause other flights to be delayed.

Delays cost U.S. carriers an average of $5,867, reports the Post.

The head of the Association for Airline Passenger Rights called the Port Authority’s plan “intriguing,” but said this may be a situation of “singling out the passengers for a problem that is systemwide.”

Bad fliers get boot – & bill [NY Post]


Edit Your Comment

  1. philpm says:

    I dunno, the idea of hitting someone being a complete asshole in the wallet sounds pretty intriguing to me.

    • mikedt says:

      except the definition of asshole depends on how the flight attendants are feeling that day. You sneezing too much could tick the wrong person off and suddenly you’re being deplaned and now subject to fines.

      For example, the parents of the crying kid that got kicked off from a plane last week, should they be fined on top of the thousand or so missing that flight already cost them?

      • jiubreyn says:

        Sneezing is a far cry from refusing to put your phone away despite being asked repeatedly. The woman with the crying kid — is debatable in my opinion — I don’t know all of the details. I am all for this if they can find a diplomatic way of imposing it. (IE – Specific rules, not a general statement of “delaying a flight” — there are some circumstances that just cannot be avoided. One such situation would be someone having a seizure prior to take off.)

      • Jawaka says:

        I’m sure that just like the speeding ticket that you received that you claim you didn’t deserve these fines will be be contestable in court.

  2. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    What if the delay is due to an overreaction from flight staff over something that the customer did that is considered reasonable?

    • caradrake says:

      This is what I would be worried about. I would want there to be an independent party to determine whether the passenger should have to pay, and I would want an ability to try to appeal the decision.

      • cosmic.charlie says:

        Then don’t pay… In civil court there are several levels of appeals.

      • longdvsn says:

        Both of your concerns would be addressed here. In a district or superior civil court, the defendant has the right to a jury trial…the jury is your independent party determining liability (determined by which party supplies the balance of weight to their argument). The court system also has an appeals process.

        I think the problem is to get witnesses, for both sides, in a case like this. Are airlines really going to play well with this if they have to give their flight attendants time off to show up to court? How does the defendant subpoena fellow passengers as witnesses when they might reside all over the world and are unknown to the defendant?

    • Jawaka says:

      Then you contest the fine like any other ticket that you’ve ever received.

    • spamtasticus says:

      This is perfect. They can fine the TSA puke for not letting me through without allowing them to irradiate or grope my daughter. But knowing the airline they will try to fine me for not allowing my daughter to be irradiated or groped by an uneducated, badly vetted, poorly paid, stranger.

  3. Velifer says:

    And if a delay is caused by incompetent airline staff, do I get to cash in?

  4. thomwithanh says:

    I think there needs to be independent, third party oversight.

    • Scrutinizer says:

      The TSA and some airline employees can be be capricious. I wounder if this is more of a stick to keep people in line even when they have legitimate disagreements.

    • meske says:

      And there’s yet ANOTHER fee. Great.

  5. jrwn says:

    So if you are getting scanned and “randomly” selected for a full strip search, do the searchees or searchers have to pay?

  6. Blueskylaw says:

    What about the day my plane landed late in London and I missed my connecting flight due? I wrote the airline a letter asking for partial re-imbursement and they told that the plane landed on time (liars) and they couldn’t do anything for me. I then wrote my Congressman, the airline governing authority that calculates delay statistics and one other agency and all of a sudden I get an apology and re-imbursement for all of my expenses.

    • Cat says:

      If you want to get anything done in this country you’ve got to complain ’til you’re blue in the mouth.

      • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

        This comment made me think of Tobais Funke.

      • Blueskylaw says:

        That’s the truth. They pilots even said that we were arriving late (not that I couldn’t figure that out for myself) and the airline had the nerve to say I had plenty of time to make my connecting flight.

  7. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    Civil penalties = no teeth. Good luck enforcing that.

  8. Cat says:

    Yea, I’d like to “penalize” some dumb ass passengers.

  9. StatusfriedCrustomer says:

    Maybe this should be a 3-strikes-and-you’re-penalized rule, to protect people a bit from “capricious” flight attendants, TSA guards, and staff.

  10. aen says:

    This should really go two ways. If they expect passengers to pay for delays that they cause, then the airlines should be expected to pay the passengers when it’s the airline’s fault.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      You do know that in corporate America, dollars only flow one way; up and out of your wallet

    • rmorin says:

      Uhhhh …. they do? I fly often, and when the airline makes a mistake(overbooking, etc.) you almost always get reimbursed.

      What you’ll never get reimbursed for (and which does not make sense to reimburse for) is weather delays, unavoidable mechanical issues, etc. And you have to understand, a weather delay on a different leg of your intended flight can cause a delay even if you have good weather in your area.

  11. donovanr says:

    These funds should be put into a pot that is paid to the passengers. I would be very happy if I got a free meal out of the drunken nit who was hauled off the plane.

  12. Major Tom Coming Home says:

    Do it, YEAH!!!

  13. mramos says:

    I think it’s a great idea. Especially after my last flight out of LGA had to go back to the gate after taxiing for an hour because some ass couldn’t put away his ipod and the lady next to him decided to get mouthy about it as well. It was great watching the officers take them off the plane but it still made me an hour late.

  14. cybrczch says:

    Most airline delays are caused by planes missing their left phalanges.

  15. dush says:

    Seriously, people need to nut up and just stop flying. Just stop giving our money to airlines, airports and tsa. That’s the only way to really make these guys pay attention. Money talks.

    • Powerlurker says:

      Have fun driving to Europe or Asia.

      • dush says:

        Exactly, the industries think they know they have us all by the short hairs. But just think if consumers actually took a stand. The change would be swift.

  16. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I wonder what would happen if some jerk sat next to me doing this and I told him to put his damn device away. Would I then get ejected and fined for saying out loud what every other person on the plane wanted to say?

  17. ColoradoShark says:

    Hurray! This seems pretty obvious: If you do something that costs someone else money, you have to compensate them.

    • doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

      UNLESS you’re the airline, the TSA, the government, the police, etc. etc.

  18. poolejc says:

    I see multiple probelms here.
    First when they see something is going to hang the flight up, they could just have a flight attendant to pick on whichever guy they could make unruly. they can fix whatever caused the delay and get someone else to pay for it.
    Also, If I am having to not only pay for my flight being late but also every other flight that was late because of the chain reaction, then when I am late because of their doing do I get reimbursed because their late flight caused me to lose the 10 million dollar murphy account?

  19. fontman2008 says:

    Leave it to NYC . the reason for people delaying flights is because the airport and the airline have pissed off the customer due to delays and condescending attitudes towards paying customers. Moreover,no longer airports more like large malls with planes. And they want to keep you there as long as possible :) .This would just make it suck more.

  20. archangel09 says:

    Just so long as airlines also get penalized for delayed flights and the proceeds go to the passengers of the affected flight. This would include things like scheduled maintenance that the airline doesn’t handle in time or pilot/crew staffing delays.