Categorized | Airlines

DOT fines 3 airlines for violating consumer protection rules…

Posted on 11 August 2009

The Transportation Department fined Continental Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and US Airways for failing to tell consumers key information about their flights, including taxes and who would operate the plane. The department on Monday announced civil penalties of $75,000 against Continental Airlines Inc., $70,000 against US Airways Group Inc., and $50,000 against Hawaiian Airlines, a unit of Hawaiian Holdings Inc. The fines will be halved if the airlines don’t commit the same violations in the next year.

 

The department said Continental advertised some fares on its website without showing taxes or government fees the first time the fare was displayed. Those charges did show up on a subsequent page. The Transportation Department also said Continental failed to make clear that supposedly one-way fares actually required a round-trip purchase.

 

Continental told the DOT that it fixed the issues when the DOT complained, according to the consent order.

 

The government also said that enforcement workers who called reservations lines at Hawaiian and US Airways were not told that their flights would actually be on code-share partners. The calls were made between January and March.

 

Airlines use code-sharing to sell flights on partners, but travelers are supposed to be told which airline is really operating the flight. The DOT said its enforcement office “found that both carriers’ reservations agents failed to disclose code-sharing during a substantial number of those calls.”

 

Hawaiian told the DOT that it believed no real customers had complained about the code-share disclosures. It also said it had recently moved its reservations to a contractor in the Philippines “and has found the transition difficult,” according to the DOT consent order. Hawaiian told the government that compliance improved after it did extra monitoring and training for the contractor.

 

US Airways told the government it has begun disciplining reservations agents who don’t make the required disclosures about code-sharing.

 

Last month the DOT announced an $80,000 civil penalty against United Airlines for violating code-share disclosure rules.

Source: AP

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