Airlines cancel flights to avoid runway penalities

(NBC) - A spokesman for the U.S. Transportation Department said airlines can avoid fines by doing a better job of scheduling flights and crews.

"Carriers have it within their power to schedule their flights more realistically, to have spare aircraft and crews available to avoid cancellations" and to rebook passengers when there are cancellations, said Bill Mosley, a department spokesman.

Frequent flier Dave Wooldridge said he plans to punish airlines that cancel flights by taking his business elsewhere.

"I won't fly that airline again," he said. "They risk losing a lot of people if that's what they become known for, canceling flights."

Traveler Andrea Ramirez also didn't agree with the airlines' tactic.

"I would definitely rather be late than not go at all," Ramirez said. "That's for sure."

The fines are scheduled to take effect April 29.

Copyright 2010 NBC. All rights reserved.