DOT Fines AirTran for 'Deceptive Price' Ads

As fines go, it wasn’t a huge one, but the Department of Transportation nevertheless slapped AirTran with a $60,000 fine for what it called a violation of rules “prohibiting deceptive price advertising in air travel.”

American Eagle Hit with Near-Million Dollar Fine

Alleged Violation: AirTran Sale Prices

According to the DOT’s website, the violation in question – and the airline is entitled to challenge the fine – concerned an airfare sale that was promoted this past fall:

“The advertisement noted that additional taxes, fees and exclusions would apply, but with no information on the type or amount of taxes or fees. A consumer clicking on the advertisement was taken to a page on AirTran’s website where a list of routes and prices were displayed. Consumers were not provided details about the taxes and fees until they scrolled to the bottom of the page where the information appeared in fine print.”

Spirit Hit with $50K Find for Ad Violations

New Rules will Add Taxes/Fees to Sale Prices

Such arcane violations may well be moot if, as expected, new DOT rules go into effect later this month. These rules would require airlines to include all government taxes and fees in every advertised fare beginning Jan. 26. Some of the airlines, however, are pushing for an extended deadline.

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Published: January 4, 2012