US DOT Fines Asiana For Failed Crash Response

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has fined Asiana Airlines $500,000 for failing to adhere to the assurances in its family assistance plan following the crash of Asiana flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport. The DOT ordered the airline to cease and desist from further violations. This is the first time that DOT has issued a fine of this kind. The agency said that for approximately one day following the crash, Asiana “failed to widely publicise any telephone number for family members of those onboard, and the only number generally available to the public that family members could call was Asiana’s toll-free reservations line”. Locating this phone number on Asiana’s website “required significant effort”.  The reservations line did not include a separate menu option for calls related to the crash and callers were “required to navigate through cumbersome automated menus before being connected to an Asiana employee”. The DOT says Asiana also took two full days to successfully contact the families of just three-quarters of the passengers. The families of several passengers were not contacted until five days following the crash.

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