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Disclosure of Codeshare Service - Notice of Guidance
Disclosure of Codeshare Service
Served January 10, 2011
This notice is intended to provide guidance on the disclosure of code-share service in light of recent amendments to 49 U.S.C. § 41712. It is also intended to provide a reminder to ticket agents with respect to their code-share disclosure responsibility, particularly as it concerns the development and provision of Internet websites (websites) that display code-share flights and to air carriers regarding their responsibilities in connection with the websites of their agents.
A recent amendment to section 41712, which has for some time contained a general prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition on the part of air carriers, foreign air carriers and ticket agents, added a new section 41712(c) that specifically requires that these entities disclose in any oral, written or electronic communication to the public, prior to the purchase of a ticket, the name of the carrier providing the service for each segment of a passenger’s itinerary. The language is principally intended to address service rendered pursuant to code-share arrangements. In addition, the new language explicitly requires that on websites, disclosure must be made “on the first display of the Web site following a search of a requested itinerary in a format that is easily visible to a viewer.”
We are also taking this opportunity to warn ticket agents, in particular global distribution systems, which may be assisting travel agents to establish airline ticket sales websites, that they should not be providing those agents website software that is not in compliance with the Department’s advertising requirements, in general, or code-share disclosure requirements, in particular. Such actions that facilitate violations of Department rules or section 41712 may themselves violate 41712, and we will not hesitate to institute enforcement action against ticket agents in such situations, if appropriate.
By: Samuel Podberesky