PHOTO: Failing to distribute sufficient snacks on four delayed flights will cost Delta. (Photo via Flickr/faungg's photos)
Perhaps the last place a traveler wants to be without a snack is waiting hours on the tarmac.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced Thursday that Delta Air Lines has agreed to pay a $90,000 fine for not providing sufficient food to passengers sitting through four lengthy tarmac delays in New York and Atlanta last summer.
According to USA Today, the two flights that were delayed at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport were bound for Madrid (July 1) and Atlanta (July 8), while the affected flights at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport were headed for Greenville, South Carolina and Portland, Maine, on July 21.
Citing federal investigators, USA Today reported water was supplied on all four flights. However, snacks weren't passed out to all passengers on the Madrid-bound flight and no food was distributed aboard the Atlanta-bound flight during the two-plus-hour period when passengers weren't allowed off the plane.
Only when the plane's door was open were snacks provided.
In Atlanta, investigators said passengers aboard the flight to Maine's Portland International Jetport only received water during a two-hour delay and those bound for South Carolina's Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport received inadequate snacks.
None of the tarmac delays lasted longer than three hours.
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The airline expressed regret over the incidents in a statement responding to the fine.
"As stated in the order, Delta acknowledges and regrets that the way snacks were distributed during these delays were not ideal," Delta said in a statement. "We strive to provide food and water during extended delays because that's the level of excellent customer service we are known for and not simply because it is required by regulation."
In signing the agreement, assistant general counsel for aviation enforcement Blane Workie said the $90,000 fine assessed by DOT was a compromise on other potential penalties.