Who really benefits when airlines are penalized?

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Although the U.S. Department of Transportation fined seven airlines a total of $1.7 million last year for violating its controversial tarmac-delay rule, most of it went straight to the U.S. Treasury. Why isn’t the money awarded to the passengers who sat on planes for hours before taking off?
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Hey airlines, enough with the musical chairs!

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Shortly before Deb Knapp flew from Fort Lauderdale to Johannesburg on Delta Air Lines, she made a troubling discovery: The “comfort” coach seats for which she’d paid an extra $358 had been changed. On the transatlantic flight, the airline re-seated her two rows away from her husband, James. It was his birthday.
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