Air Transat slammed fined for handling of hours-long tarmac delay

A federal agency is ordering Air Transat to cover out-of-pocket expenses for passengers caught in an hours-long tarmac delay this summer as part of a ruling that places the blame for the fiasco solely on the airline.

The Canadian Transportation Agency says Air Transat broke its tariff agreement with customers about when they can be let off a flight due to a tarmac delay.  

The ruling comes almost four months after two flights _ one from Rome, the other from Brussels _ sat on the tarmac in Ottawa for almost five and six hours, respectively, with passengers not allowed to disembark.  

During two days of hearings in August, passengers described mounting tensions, a child throwing up on board one plane and ultimately a 911 call from a passenger on the Brussels flight, attracting widespread media attention.   

Transportation agency members are rejecting the airline's argument that the airport authority contributed to the delays, saying that didn't relieve Air Transat from its commitment to its customers.  

A representative from Air Transat was not immediately available to respond to the ruling.