The winds that arrived in the L.A. area at the end of November felled trees… (Ken Kwok / Los Angeles Times )
Passengers on two flights destined for Los Angeles International Airport were held on a tarmac for more than three hours due to Southern California's severe windstorm on Nov. 30, according to a federal report released Thursday.
The delays technically violate federal rules that prohibit airlines from keeping passengers on a delayed plane waiting on a tarmac without offering them the option to return to the terminal.
The rules, however, offer exemptions for safety, security or air traffic control-related reasons.
Under a rule that took effect in April 2010, domestic flights are prohibited from keeping passengers on board a delayed flight for more than three hours without allowing them to return to the terminal. In a separate rule that took effect in August of last year, international flights in the U.S. are barred from keeping passengers on a tarmac for more than four hours.
Airlines that violate the rules can be fined up to $27,500 per passenger.
On Nov. 30, an American Airlines flight from New York to Los Angeles was diverted to L.A./Ontario International Airport for three hours and seven minutes to wait out the severe winds that blew through Southern California at the end of the month, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
A China Airlines flight from Taiwan to Los Angeles was also diverted to Ontario for four hours, 31 minutes, according to the agency.
Both incidents are under investigation by the agency.
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