United to receive heavy fine for towel stuffed in engine

US Airways and United Airlines both stand to receive multi-million dollar fines from the FAA for maintenance violations.

US Airways’ violations include failing to inspect cargo doors and landing gear on a few plans and for failing to perform routine checks on dozen of others. US Airways responded quickly to the news, saying that the violations stem from the integration of their maintenance systems back from October 2008 to January of 2009, and that they are working on addressing the issues. The airline could be fined up to $5.4 million. This is the isn’t the first time US Airways has been fined this year either. In January, they were fined for violating rules involving oversold flights.

United’s violation is perhaps more troubling. The airline faces a $3.8 million fine for a single incident. In April 2008, a Boeing 737 returned to Denver after its engine shut down with low oil pressure. When the engine was inspected, two shop towels were inside. The towels “had been used to cover openings in the oil sump area” instead of the regulation caps. The towels were believed to have been there since December 2007, when maintenance was performed on the engine. This sounds terrifying, but according to the Cranky Flier website, it isn’t quite as scary as it sounds. The caps are only used during maintenance and then removed.

But still, the FAA is taking the incident seriously. “As a result of United’s failure to follow its maintenance procedures. . .it flew the aircraft on more than 200 revenue flights when it was not in an airworthy condition,” the FAA said in a statement.

[via ABC News Denver]

Pennsylvania hotel breaking all the rules

When inspectors from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture responded to a consumer complaint at the Holiday Inn in Lancaster County, they were surprised by what they found — but given the hotel’s laundry list of offenses, perhaps it shouldn’t have been such a shock.

When the hotel’s walk-in refrigerator failed, they moved its contents to a guest room for cooling. The room’s air conditioner was turned all the way down to 65 degrees — 24 degrees higher than the maximum temperature allowed by state public health guidelines. This is but one of many ridiculous incidents that begs the question: Why is this Holiday Inn still open?

On the same day of the food inspection, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement officers searched the hotel and found that it was selling liquor without a license, and had been doing so for over a year, when ownership changed hands and the new owners never sought to renew the liquor license.

The problems don’t end there.Treasury officials say the hotel has failed to pay taxes since July 21. There is no way to know how much the hotel owes, because those figures come from the hotel’s monthly reports, and guess what? Those aren’t accurate or complete, either. However, the state Department of Revenue recently placed a lien on the property for $29,259.28 in unpaid sales taxes for November and December of 2007.

Employees paint an even grimmer picture for the Holiday Inn. They say paychecks have been late and have bounced, and they have been paying insurance premiums out of their paychecks, yet the hotel isn’t actually carrying insurance. One employee found this out the hard way when he went in for surgery and was told he didn’t have insurance, even though he’d been paying for it through his employer.

Housekeeping employees have been instructed to rinse out and reuse disposable supplies in guest rooms. This includes refilling used shampoo bottles and — ew — rinsing out and reusing trash bags. The job market in Lancaster must be pretty dismal for these workers to stick around.

On top of everything else, utilities and cable have been shut off at the hotel due to failure to pay bills, and the building has failed fire code inspections as well.

What does a hotel in Lancaster County, PA have to do to get shut down?!

More crazyhotels: