Federal regulators Monday fined Delta Air Lines Inc. $115,000 for failing to respond to customer requests for on-time arrival data of its flights.
The Transportation Department ordered Delta to cease and desist from further offenses and assessed it the civil fine for violations by several Delta Connection carriers, including Comair, Atlantic Southeast Airlines and SkyWest Airlines.
The 20 largest passenger carriers report on-time performance to the government and must provide on-time arrival statistics when requested by passengers. Through September, more than 24 percent of flights have arrived late — the industry's worst on-time performance since comparable data began being collected in 1995.
After receiving information that some carriers are failing to respond to consumer requests, the agency launched an investigation that involved several hundred test calls to the carriers.
As a result of the government probe, Delta is requiring reservation agents to achieve a perfect score on a test that includes accurately quoting on-time flight performance if they want to stay employed, spokeswoman Betsy Talton wrote in an e-mail Monday. Any problems observed in quality-monitoring sessions the company conducts would be discussed with individual employees, she added.
Before receiving the government's notice, the Atlanta-based airline corrected problems in reservations systems' software that did not properly display information for certain Delta Connection flights, Talton said. But that error did not affect the global distribution system or Delta's Web site accessible to the public, where more than 80 percent of Delta's tickets are issued.
"We believe these actions have worked, and the department's enforcement office said the positive impact is reflected in the results of the its most recent test calls," Talton said.
The Transportation Department said its enforcement office is continuing to investigate other carriers after imposing fines last month for similar violations of $50,000 on Hawaiian Holdings Inc.'s Hawaiian Airlines and $30,000 on JetBlue Airways Corp.
The agency in May began investigating flights that are at least 15 minutes late more than 70 percent of the time, and last month said it had identified 26 that met those criteria.
If any of those flights also were delayed in the most recent quarter under review, the responsible airlines will face "significant financial penalties," a government spokesman said last month. Results of the investigation are expected shortly.