The Air Traveller Tax.

Continental Airlines left forty-seven passengers of a regional jet stranded overnight in Rochester, Minn. The Transportation Department imposed its first penalties for runway delays Tuesday, collecting $175,000 in fines.

The agency said that Continental Airlines and its regional affiliate, ExpressJet Airlines, operating as Continental Express, had deceived passengers by promising, through a “Customer First” statement on Continental’s Web site, to let passengers off planes within three hours when faced with an extended delay on the runway.

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The secretary of transportation, Ray LaHood, said in a statement, “I hope this sends a signal to the rest of the airline industry that we expect airlines to respect the rights of air travelers.

Ok, we’ve punished the airlines. The government raised some revenue. When do we actually do something to compensate those air travellers whose rights weren’t respected?

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