The US Department of Transportation recently issued a fine against Asiana Airlines for failing to help families after the crash of one of its planes in July. This is the first time that an airline has been fined under a 1997 law requiring “family assistance plans” for major accidents.
CNN reports that the airline took two full days to contact the families of most of the people on the plane and took up to five days after the crash to contact some of the passengers’ families.
Asiana attempted to shift blame for its inept response to San Francisco authorities. The airline said that its ability to respond to families was hampered by its lack of staffing at the SF airport and the fact that injured passengers were ferried to at least a dozen area hospitals. Asiana also noted that hospitals were reluctant to update the airline on passenger conditions due to privacy concerns.
“The last thing families and passengers should have to worry about at such a stressful time is how to get information from their carrier,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.