page counter OST-2011-0003 - Consent Orders

Home | Search | Help
OST by Number | OST by Order | OST by Carrier | OST by Subject | OST by Day
OIA by Carrier/Subject | OIA by Day | FAA by Number | FAA by Subject | FAA by Day
Carrier Financials | Charter Office

Updated: Friday, November 25, 2011 8:48 AM


OST-2011-0003 - Consent Orders


2002 Consent Orders
2003 Consent Orders
2004 Consent Orders
2005 Consent Orders
2006 Consent Orders
2007 Consent Orders
2008 Consent Orders
2009 Consent Orders
2010 Consent Orders


Aerovías de México, S.A. de C.V.

Order 2011-1-1
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84

Issued and Served January 4, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by Aerovías de México, S.A. de C.V. that violated the full fare advertisement requirements specified in 14 CFR Part 399 as well as 49 USC § 41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices. It directs AeroMexico to cease and desist from future violations of Part 399 and Section 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $60,000.

Recently AeroMexico posted Internet fare advertisements on its website that quoted prices for numerous airfares that did not include applicable fuel surcharges. By failing to include fuel surcharges in its base fares, AeroMexico violated 14 CFR 399.84 and engaged in an unfair and deceptive practice and unfair method of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712.

Further, on AeroMexico’s Internet website, when consumers initiated a search for round-trip airfares, the search process began after clicking on the “Book Now” button. The consumer would then be taken to a page showing a range of days with their preferred travel date. For each date, AeroMexico listed the lowest available fare on the route. However, the Dates Page contained only a general statement that “[t]axes or additional fees are not included.” Thus consumers were unable to determine the full fare to be paid at the first point at which AeroMexico displayed a fare. Further, the September 11th Security Fee is among the taxes and fees that were not in the fares on the Dates Page.

Additionally, AeroMexico’s website displayed certain highlighted specials with air fares, e.g., Los Angeles to San Jose del Cabo starting from $118 US “Each Way Based on Round-Trip Purchase,” but did not include notice of any additional taxes and fees except for a general disclosure at the bottom of the page that appeared to pertain to the special fare as well as to a series of other special fare listings. AeroMexico also excluded carrier-imposed charges from the fares on its flight Dates Page, such as fuel surcharges.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.aeromexico.com/



Capital Airways, LLC

Order 2010-1-2
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC §§ 41101 and 41712

Issued and Served January 4, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns unauthorized air transportation by Capital Airways, LLC. Since at least April 2010, Capital Airways has engaged in air transportation without holding the requisite economic authority from the Department. This order directs Capital Airways to cease and desist from such future violations and assesses Capital Airways a compromise civil penalty of $175,000.

Since at least April 2010, Capital Airways has held out and performed significant common carriage service using an MD-83 aircraft (N982CA) in contravention of 49 USC §§ 41101 and 41712. Specifically, in April 2010, Capital Airways entered into contracts with Aviation Advantage, Inc., a brokerage firm through which Capital Airways operated several weekly roundtrip charter flights transporting passengers who purchased the air transportation as part of hotel-air packages sold by two casinos. By contracting for and transporting the common carriage traffic obtained by the casinos and AAI, Capital Airways indirectly held out and operated air transportation.

In addition, between September and December 2010, Capital Airways provided single entity charter air service to a significant number of college sports teams through contracts with Global Airline Services, Inc., an air charter broker. By doing so, it engaged in a course of conduct that evinced a willingness to provide passenger air transportation to the public, thereby constituting an unlawful holding out and operation of common carriage via reputation. The number of customers that Capital Airways served far exceeds any reasonable interpretation of the boundaries of private carriage for hire under relevant Department precedent.

By: Rosalind Knapp

Order 2005-12-16 - Consent Order - Unauthorized Air Transportation

http://www.flickr.com/photos/30330826@N05/5230019003/
http://www.airframes.org/reg/n982ca
http://flightaware.com/live/flight/N982CA
http://www.aviationreferencedesk.com/aircarriers.php?code=2CCB



Mesaba Aviation, Inc.


Order 2011-1-4
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 14 CFR Part 382 and 49 USC §§ 41310, 41702, 41705, and 41712

Issued and Served January 7, 2011

Consent Order

This order concerns violations by Mesaba Aviation, Inc. of the requirements of 14 CFR Part 382 with respect to providing wheelchair assistance to passengers with a disability and making dispositive responses to written complaints alleging a violation of Part 382. Part 382 implements the Air Carrier Access Act, 49 USC § 41705, and violations of that part also violate the ACAA. To the extent that the ACAA and Part 382 violations occurred in interstate air transportation, the incidents are also violations of 49 USC § 41702, which requires that air carriers provide safe and adequate interstate air transportation; to the extent the violations occurred in foreign air transportation, the incidents would violate 49 USC § 41310, which, in part, prohibits air carriers and foreign air carriers from unreasonably discriminating against any person in foreign air transportation. This order directs Mesaba to cease and desist from future violations of Part 382 and assesses the carrier $125,000 in civil penalties.

The Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings investigated Mesaba’s compliance with the ACAA and Part 382 by reviewing disability-related complaints that the Department received against Mesaba during the past several years and that Mesaba received directly from passengers in 2007 and 2008. The records indicated a significant number of apparent violations of section 382.39 [now sections 382.91 to 382.105] during the pertinent time period. Additionally, Mesaba’s complaint files indicated that in a number of instances, it did not provide a dispositive response to complainants as required by section 382.65 [now section 382.155]. More specifically, the violations that resulted from section 382.65 [now section 382.155] are cases in which Mesaba completely failed to provide a written response to a complainant or are cases wherein Mesaba failed to notify a complainant of his or her right to pursue DOT enforcement action.

By: Rosalind Knapp

Mesaba Fined for Violating Rules Protecting Air Travelers with Disabilities - DOT Press Release



Virgin America, Inc.

Order 2011-2-5
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399

Issued and Served February 7, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by Virgin America, Inc. that violate the advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR Part 399, as well as 49 USC § 41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices. It directs Virgin America to cease and desist from future violations of Part 399 and section 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $40,000.

For a period of time during the summer of 2010, Virgin America’s internet website homepage contained three banner advertisements entitled “Next up,” “Virgin America Does Dallas,” and “Texas Sized 3 Day Sale.” Each advertisement stated a fare that did not include additional non-ad valorem taxes and fees. Although each advertisement included an asterisk in the bottom right-hand corner of the banner next to the statement “See fare rules,” there was no specific information alerting a consumer to the fact that taxes and fees were in fact not included in the advertised fare. Rather, once the consumer clicked on the advertisement, he or she was taken to a landing page where the itinerary and price with an asterisk were displayed, and the consumer was required to scroll down to the fine print on the bottom of the page in order to learn of the nature and exact amounts of taxes and fees.

By failing to provide adequate notice of taxes and fees that were not included in its advertised fares as described above, Virgin America violated 14 CFR 399.84 and engaged in unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.virginamerica.com/



Tour Beyond, Inc. d/b/a China Spree Travel

Order 2011-2-6
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84 and 399.80(f)

Issued and Served February 9, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by Tour Beyond, Inc., d/b/a China Spree Travel of the Department’s advertising requirements specified in sections 399.84 and 399.80(f) of the Department’s regulations (14 CFR 399.84, and 399.80(f)) that also constitute unfair and deceptive trade practices and unfair methods of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712. This order directs China Spree Travel to cease and desist from future violations and assesses the company a compromise civil penalty of $35,000.

An investigation by the Department’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings disclosed that the air tour packages promoted by China Spree Travel on its web site and that of others did not comply with Department requirements. Specifically, the listed prices failed to include air-related fuel and service surcharges, which must be included in the advertised price, and failed to include appropriate notice, adjacent to the advertised price, of the amount of government taxes and fees that were not included in the overall air plus land or cruise package price. In addition, the web site failed to disclose prominently and proximately to the air tour price that the prices promoted required a cash purchase.

Upon further inquiry, Enforcement Office staff ascertained that, in fact, the applicable taxes and fees amounted to no more than $110, and not, as stated, $314 or $322. China Spree Travel had included the airline-imposed fuel surcharge in the amount the firm designated as “US and China Taxes.” Enforcement Office staff verified that the promotions for numerous other China Spree Travel air tour packages contained virtually identical false statements and violations of the Department’s full-fare advertising requirements.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.chinaspree.com



Trinity Air Ambulance International LLC

Order 2011-2-9
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC §§ 41101 and 41712 and CAB Order 1983-1-36

Issued and Served February 15, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns the unlawful holding out of direct air transportation by Trinity Air Ambulance International LLC, an indirect air carrier specializing in air ambulance services. The conduct in question exceeded the scope of the economic authority conferred in Civil Aeronautics Board Order 1983-1-36 and violated 49 USC § 41101, the Department’s economic licensing requirement for air carriers. Those violations also constituted an unfair and deceptive trade practice and unfair method of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712. This consent order directs Trinity to cease and desist from such further violations and assesses Trinity a compromise civil penalty of $30,000.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings found numerous improper statements and representations on Trinity’s web site as well as in postings and articles on Internet social networking web sites written and posted by Trinity asserting or implying that it had operational control of aircraft and flights. A web page entitled "Our Pilots," for example, stated, "Having full time pilots on staff is just one way that Trinity provides safe and timely transports.” As of November 2010, the Department identified photos on Facebook and videos on YouTube dating back as early as June 2008 displaying aircraft bearing the “Trinity Air Ambulance” livery. Such marketing strategies created the erroneous impression that Trinity controlled all aspects of its air services, including exercising direct operational control of its flights. As explained above, such statements and representations violate 49 USC §§ 41101 and 41712, and CAB Order 1983-1-36.

By: Ronsalind Knapp

http://www.trinityairambulance.com/



Delta Air Lines, Inc.

Order 2011-2-10
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 14 CFR Part 382 and 49 USC §§ 41310, 41702, 41705 and 41712

Issued and Served February 17, 2011

Consent Order

This order concerns violations by Delta Air Lines, Inc. of the requirements of 14 CFR Part 382 with respect to providing enplaning, deplaning, and connecting assistance, as well as providing dispositive responses to written complaints alleging a violation of Part 382 and properly coding and recording its disability-related complaints in connection with required reporting to the Department of Transportation. Part 382 implements the Air Carrier Access Act, 49 USC § 41705, and violations of that part also violate the ACAA. To the extent that the ACAA and Part 382 violations occurred in interstate air transportation, the incidents are also violations of 49 USC § 41702, which requires that air carriers provide safe and adequate interstate air transportation; to the extent the violations occurred in foreign air transportation, the incidents would violate 49 USC § 41310, which, in part, prohibits air carriers and foreign air carriers from unreasonably discriminating against any person in foreign air transportation. Violations of the ACAA and Part 382, as well as of 49 USC §§41702 and 41310, are unfair and deceptive practices in violation of 49 USC §41712. This order directs Delta to cease and desist from future violations of Part 382 and the ACAA and assesses the carrier $2,000,000 in civil penalties.

The Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings investigated Delta's compliance with the relevant provisions of Part 382 by reviewing all disability-related complaints Delta received directly from passengers during 12 week-long intervals in 2001 and 2008, as well as all disability-related complaints the Department received directly from Delta passengers during 2007 and 2008. The Enforcement Office also reviewed training and other documentation related to Delta's wheelchair assistance vendor operations at the Atlanta Hartsfield International and John F. Kennedy airports. The records indicated a significant number of apparent violations of section 382.39 [now sections 382.91 to 382.105] during the pertinent time period. A substantial number of these complaints appear to involve egregious violations of Part 382. Additionally, Delta's complaint files indicated that in many instances. Delta violated section 382.70 [now section 382.157] by failing to adequately categorize and
account for all the disability-related issues that were raised in the complaints. Furthermore, it appears that a number of its written responses to complainants did not comply with the requirements of section 382.65 [now section 382.155]. In addition to these findings, the Enforcement Office noted an upward trend in the number of disability-related complaints Delta reported annually following a 2003 consent order against the carrier, also for violations of sections 382.39 and 382.65, in which the carrier agreed to adopt significant measures to improve service and reduce complaint levels. The violations found in 2007 and 2008 following the 2003 consent order directing Delta to cease and desist from further violations of 14 CFR Part 382 and 49 USC §§ 41310, 41702, 41705 and 41712 also constitute violations of that order.

By: Rosalind Knapp

Order 2003-11-4 - Consent Order (Violations of 14 CFR Part 382 & 49 USC 41310, 41702, 41705 and 41712)

DOT Press Release - February 17, 2011

http://www.delta.com/



American Airlines, Inc.

Order 2011-2-14
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served February 28, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations of 49 USC § 41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive trade practices and unfair methods of competition, by American Airlines, Inc. for failure to disclose the amount of fees and use restrictions on travel vouchers offered and provided as denied boarding compensation to passengers who volunteered to give up their seats in oversales situations. This consent order directs American to cease and desist from such further violations and assesses American a compromise civil penalty of $90,000.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings found that for a number of years American offered travel vouchers as compensation to passengers who volunteered to give up their seats in oversales situations without adequate disclosure of applicable fees and significant use restrictions. During this period, a ticketing fee was added to the cost of each ticket purchased through American’s telephone reservations line or at American airport ticketing locations, including tickets purchased when using travel vouchers provided as voluntary DBC. American ceased adding ticketing fees for tickets purchased through the reservations line when using such vouchers about four years ago, but continued adding a $30.00 ticketing fee to the cost of each ticket purchased with such vouchers at American airport ticketing locations until late 2010. At all times relevant to this matter, travel vouchers provided as voluntary DBC could not be redeemed on American’s Internet web site. Thus, until American eliminated the ticketing fee for tickets purchased through its telephone reservations line, the vouchers could not be redeemed without incurring a ticketing fee, and until late 2010, the vouchers could not be redeemed at airport ticketing locations without incurring a fee. Although a notice appeared on the voucher stating that a “ticketing fee may apply,” no fee amount was stated and no information was given as to when the fee applied. Thus, fee amounts and certain other restrictions were not disclosed at the time of the voucher offers, resulting in passengers accepting these vouchers as voluntary DBC at what was less than the bargained-for amount.

The Enforcement Office also found that American’s internal reference document on oversales volunteer solicitations gave no instruction to agents on disclosing certain significant limitations on redeeming vouchers. There were no guidelines, for example, to inform passengers that vouchers could not be used for ticket purchases online or that vouchers applied to tickets purchased by telephone had to be mailed in for processing 12-21 days before the departure date. Passenger complaints reviewed by the Enforcement Office indicated that passengers generally learned about fees and certain redemption restrictions only after trying to purchase tickets with the vouchers. It appears, for example, that passengers first learned of restrictions on the use of vouchers (e.g., the 12-21 day processing time) and the amount of the ticketing fee when they contacted American’s telephone reservations agents to redeem the vouchers. Our findings further indicate that reservations agents did not always accurately disclose policies and procedures concerning the use of vouchers, resulting in significant inconvenience and expense to some consumers.

By: Rosalind Knapp

American Airlines Fined for Failing to Disclose Oversales Voucher Fees - DOT Press Release

http://www.aa.com/



Aerovias de Integracion Regional, AIRES S.A.

Order 2011-3-9
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41708 and 14 CFR Part 217

Issued and Served March 3, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns reporting delinquencies by Aerovías de Intergración Regional, AIRES S.A. that constitute violations of 49 USC § 41708 and the Department’s foreign air carrier reporting requirements set forth in 14 CFR Part 217. This order directs AIRES to cease and desist from future violations and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $20,000.

Since March 2009, AIRES has operated a significant number of flights to or from the US, including multiple daily scheduled flights, but failed to the file required Schedule T-100(f) reports with the Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics until November 2010.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.aires.com.co/



Southwest Airlines Co.

Order 2011-3-20
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 14 CFR 234.11 and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served March 15, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by Southwest Airlines Co. of the requirement of 14 CFR 234.11 to display on-time performance data for each domestic flight for which schedule information is available on the initial listing of flights on its website. Violations of Part 234 also constitute unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712. This order directs Southwest to cease and desist from future violations of Part 234 and 49 USC § 41712 and assesses the carrier $50,000 in civil penalties.

As soon as Southwest learned that its on-time performance data were not available to all consumers using southwest.com, it corrected the problem immediately. Southwest notes that the lapse resulted from an unexpected technical failure by one of the two servers supporting its website to properly load the on-time performance data. Southwest has now implemented measures to eliminate the likelihood of a similar error in the future and has added a new automated process to detect any errors in data load files so they can be corrected immediately.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.southwest.com/



Cayman Airways, Ltd.

Order 2011-3-25
OST-2011-0003

Issued and Served March 18, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by Cayman Airways, Ltd., that violate the advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR Part 399, as well as 49 U.S.C. § 41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices. It directs Cayman to cease and desist from future violations of Part 399 and section 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $40,000.

For a period of time in late 2010, Cayman advertised on its website numerous sale fares between the Cayman Islands and points in the United States with accompanying asterisks, but failed to disclose that taxes and fees were extra in any of the acceptable ways described above. Each advertisement stated a fare that the Department’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings determined did not include additional taxes and fees. While Cayman stated below each fare that “taxes & conditions apply,” this summary statement did not provide any information about the nature or amount of additional taxes and fees. Furthermore, while the advertisements included hyperlinks, the links did not take viewers directly to a separate screen or directly to a pop-up where the nature and amount of excludable taxes and fees were displayed. Instead, the hyperlink took consumers to a second page containing a more detailed description of the sale, where viewers had to scroll past the first screen to the fine print at the bottom of the page in order to learn of the nature and exact amounts of taxes and fees, including a carrier-imposed surcharge of $5.00 or $13.00 on some routes. As outlined above, using only general statements regarding the existence of additional taxes and fees and separately listing carrier-imposed fees contravenes 14 CFR 399.84 and 49 U.S.C. § 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

https://www.caymanairways.com/



AirTran Airways, Inc.

Order 2011-4-2
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 234.11

Issued and Served April 5, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order is the result of an investigation by the Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings into the failure of AirTran Airways, Inc. to post flight delay information on its website in violation of 14 CFR Part 234 and 49 USC § 41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices. This order directs AirTran to cease and desist from future similar violations of Part 234 and section 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $30,000.

The Enforcement Office review of AirTran’s website and information provided by AirTran revealed that on-time performance data were not available to consumers visiting AirTran’s website for a short period, which is a significant violation of the Department’s on-time performance rule. The failure to display on-time performance data violates Part 234 and constitutes an unfair and deceptive practice and unfair method of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp



Flythere4less.com

Order 2011-4-3
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 14 CFR Part 257 and 49 USC §41712

Issued and Served April 5, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by Flythere4less.com, an online airline ticket agent, of the Department’s code-share disclosure rule, 14 CFR Part 257, and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712. It directs Flythere4less to cease and desist from future violations of Part 257 and section 41712 and assesses Flythere4less $40,000 in civil penalties.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed a significant lack of compliance by Flythere4less with section 257.5. During at least the latter half of 2010, Flythere4less failed to properly disclose the existence of codesharing arrangements when advertising codeshare flights operated on behalf of a major air carrier by a regional air carrier on its Internet website www.flythere4less.com. Specifically, it did not display the corporate names of the transporting carriers and any other names under which those flights were held out to the public on its flight itinerary pages. Flythere4less’ failure to properly disclose the existence of codesharing arrangements and the names of the transporting carriers could have resulted in consumers being deceived regarding the identity of the airline that was actually to operate the aircraft on which the consumer would be flying.

By: Paul Gretch

http://fly4less.com



Expedia, Inc.

Order 2011-4-18
OST-2011-0003 -Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84

Issued and Served April 21, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns air fare advertisements by Expedia, Inc. that failed to provide the full fare or adequate notice of additional taxes and fees with respect to certain sale fares in violation of the Department’s full-price advertising requirements, 14 CFR 399.84, and therefore constituted an unfair and deceptive practice and unfair method of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712. By this order, the Department directs Expedia to cease and desist from future similar violations and assesses $29,000 in civil penalties.

With respect to the fare displays in question, which appeared intermittently on Expedia’s home page, next to an advertised fare Expedia placed a plus sign which was a hyperlink that led the consumer to a separate screen giving the required additional information. However, the plus sign itself had no text advising what the sign referred to. Absent such text, the most likely meaning of the plus sign to a reasonable consumer might be equivalent to advertising a fare as “from” a particular amount. A brief indicative phrase immediately adjacent to the sign, such as “taxes, fees additional,” would have been sufficient to alert consumers to the existence of added charges and the nature of the link. In the Expedia display, the explanatory text was relegated to a statement at the bottom of the page in question that required scrolling through at least one full screen before the reader found a hyperlinked statement that the plus sign “means taxes and fees are additional” which took the reader to a subsequent screen with details of those charges. The use of symbols without adjacent explanatory text does not comply with the full-price advertising requirements of section 399.84 of the Department’s rules and constitutes an unfair and deceptive practice and unfair method of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

Order 2001-12-1 - Consent Order - Full-Fare Advertising - Taxes and Fees

http://www.expedia.com/



Airtrade International, Inc.

Order 2011-4-21
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 14 CFR Part 257 and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served April 26, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by Airtrade International, Inc., an online airline ticket agent, of the Department’s codeshare disclosure rule, 14 CFR Part 257, and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712. It directs Airtrade to cease and desist from future violations of Part 257 and section 41712 and assesses Airtrade $50,000 in civil penalties.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed a significant lack of compliance by Airtrade with section 257.5. During at least the latter half of 2010, Airtrade failed to properly disclose the existence of code-sharing arrangements when advertising codeshare flights operated on behalf of a major air carrier by a regional air carrier on its Internet website www.vayama.com. Specifically, it did not display the corporate names of the transporting carriers and any other names under which those flights were held out to the public on its flight itinerary pages. Airtrade’s failure to properly disclose the existence of code-sharing arrangements and the names of the transporting carriers could have resulted in consumers being deceived regarding the identity of the airline that was actually to operate the aircraft on which the consumer would be flying.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.airtradeintl.com/
http://www.vayama.com



OpenSkies SAS

Order 2011-4-26
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84

Issued and Served April 29, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by OpenSkies SAS, a foreign air carrier, of the full fare advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR 399.84 and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712. It directs OpenSkies to cease and desist from future violations of section 399.84 and section 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $20,000.

For a period of time during 2010, OpenSkies advertised certain fares on its homepage and “Special Offers” section of its website that did not contain notice of the amount or nature of additional taxes and fees that were excluded from the advertised fare at the first point in which the fares were displayed. Instead, these fares were followed by an asterisk that referred the reader to fine print below that stated, “o/w based on r/t purchase, taxes & fees extra…” There was no hyperlink proximate to the fares taking consumers directly to the full amount of additional taxes and fees. Rather, consumers who clicked on the advertisement were taken to a second page where they had to scroll down past the first screen to the bottom of that page to see the required tax and fee disclosures. Accordingly, OpenSkies’ advertisements violated the Department’s full-fare advertising rule, 14 CFR 399.84, and the prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition, 49 USC § 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.flyopenskies.com



AirGorilla, LLC

Order 2011-5-5
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 14 CFR Part 257 and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served May 6, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by AirGorilla, LLC, an online airline ticket agent, of the Department’s codeshare disclosure rule, 14 CFR Part 257, and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712. It directs AirGorilla to cease and desist from future violations of Part 257 and section 41712 and assesses AirGorilla $30,000 in civil penalties.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed a significant lack of compliance by AirGorilla with section 257.5. During at least the latter half of 2010, AirGorilla failed to properly disclose the existence of codesharing arrangements when advertising code-share flights operated on behalf of a major air carrier by a regional air carrier on its Internet website www.airgorilla.com. Specifically, it did not display the corporate names of the transporting carriers and any other names under which those flights were held out to the public on its flight itinerary pages. AirGorilla’s failure to properly disclose the existence of codesharing arrangements and the names of the transporting carriers could have resulted in consumers being deceived regarding the identity of the airline that was actually to operate the aircraft on which the consumer would be flying.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.airgorilla.com/

DOT Fines Ticket Agents for Violations of Codeshare Disclosure Rules - Press Release



American Travel Solutions, LLC

Order 2011-5-4
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 14 CFR Part 257 and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served May 6, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by American Travel Solutions, LLC, an online airline ticket agent, of the Department’s code-share disclosure rule, 14 CFR Part 257, and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712. It directs ATS to cease and desist from future violations of Part 257 and section 41712 and assesses ATS $45,000 in civil penalties.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed a significant lack of compliance by ATS with section 257.5. During at least the latter half of 2010, ATS failed to properly disclose the existence of codesharing arrangements when advertising code-share flights operated on behalf of a major air carrier by a regional air carrier on its Internet website. Specifically, it did not display the corporate names of the transporting carriers and any other names under which those flights were held out to the public on its flight itinerary pages. ATS’ failure to properly disclose the existence of codesharing arrangements and the names of the transporting carriers could have resulted in consumers being deceived regarding the identity of the airline that was actually to operate the aircraft on which the consumer would be flying.

By: Rosalind Knapp

DOT Fines Ticket Agents for Violations of Codeshare Disclosure Rules - Press Release



Automobile Club of New York, Inc. d/b/a AAA New York

Order 2011-5-3
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 14 CFR Part 257 and 49 USC 41712

Issued and Served May 6, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by the Automobile Club of New York, Inc., d/b/a AAA New York, an online airline ticket agent, of the Department’s codeshare disclosure rule, 14 CFR Part 257, and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712. It directs AAA NY to cease and desist from future violations of Part 257 and section 41712 and assesses AAA NY $20,000 in civil penalties.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed a significant lack of compliance by AAA NY with section 257.5. During at least the latter half of 2010, AAA NY failed to properly disclose the existence of codesharing arrangements when advertising code-share flights operated on behalf of a major air carrier by a regional air carrier on its Internet website. Specifically, it did not display the corporate names of the transporting carriers and any other names under which those flights were held out to the public on its flight itinerary pages. AAA NY’s failure to properly disclose the existence of codesharing arrangements and the names of the transporting carriers could have resulted in consumers being deceived regarding the identity of the airline that was actually to operate the aircraft on which the consumer would be flying.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.aaa.com

DOT Fines Ticket Agents for Violations of Codeshare Disclosure Rules - Press Release



Fareportal, Inc.

Order 2011-5-6
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 14 CFR Part 257 and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served May 6, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by Fareportal, Inc., an online airline ticket agent, of the Department’s codeshare disclosure rule, 14 CFR Part 257, and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712. It directs Fareportal to cease and desist from future violations of Part 257 and section 41712 and assesses Fareportal $50,000 in civil penalties.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed a significant lack of compliance by Fareportal with section 257.5. During at least the latter half of 2010, Fareportal failed to properly disclose the existence of codesharing arrangements when advertising code-share flights operated on behalf of a major air carrier by a regional air carrier on its Internet website. Specifically, it did not display the corporate names of the transporting carriers and any other names under which those flights were held out to the public on its flight itinerary pages. Fareportal’s failure to properly disclose the existence of codesharing arrangements and the names of the transporting carriers could have resulted in consumers being deceived regarding the identity of the airline that was actually to operate the aircraft on which the consumer would be flying.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.fareportal.com/

DOT Fines Ticket Agents for Violations of Codeshare Disclosure Rules - Press Release



Wholesale Travel Center, Inc.

Order 2011-5-2
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 14 CFR Part 257 and 49 USC 41712

Issued and Served May 6, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by Wholesale Travel Center, an online airline ticket agent, of the Department’s codeshare disclosure rule, 14 CFR Part 257, and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712. It directs Wholesale Travel to cease and desist from future violations of Part 257 and section 41712 and assesses Wholesale Travel $30,000 in civil penalties.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed a significant lack of compliance by Wholesale Travel with section 257.5. During at least the latter half of 2010, Wholesale Travel failed to properly disclose the existence of codesharing arrangements when advertising code-share flights operated on behalf of a major air carrier by a regional air carrier on its Internet website www.airfare.com. Specifically, it did not display the corporate names of the transporting carriers and any other names under which those flights were held out to the public on its flight itinerary pages. Wholesale Travel’s failure to properly disclose the existence of codesharing arrangements and the names of the transporting carriers could have resulted in consumers being deceived regarding the identity of the airline that was actually to operate the aircraft on which the consumer would be flying.

By: Rosalind Knapp

DOT Fines Ticket Agents for Violations of Codeshare Disclosure Rules - Press Release

http://www.airfare.com
http://www.wholesaletravel.com/



Icelandair Group a/k/a Flugleidir, h.f. d/b/a Icelandair

Order 2011-5-13
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41705 and 14 CFR Part 382

Issued and Served May 16, 2011

Consent Order

This order concerns violations by Icelandair Group, a/k/a Flugleidir, h.f., d/b/a Icelandair of the requirements of 14 CFR Part 382, with respect to the filing of annual reports detailing disability-related complaints that Icelandair received from passengers in calendar years 2008, 2009, and 2010. Part 382 implements the Air Carrier Access Act, 49 USC § 41705, and violations of Part 382 also violate the ACAA. This order directs Icelandair to cease and desist from future similar violations of Part 382 and the ACAA and assesses the carrier $30,000 in civil penalties.

Icelandair is a foreign air carrier based in Reykjavik, Iceland that operates scheduled service to and from the United States using at least one aircraft having a design seating capacity of more than 60 passenger seats. Icelandair’s operations into the United States clearly fall within the scope of the reporting rule. Therefore, Icelandair violated section 382.157(d) and the ACAA when it submitted to the Department the report for calendar year 2008 on February 24, 2009, over four weeks late, the report for calendar year 2009 on April 8, 2010, more than two months late, and the report for 2010 on February 11, 2011, over two weeks late. During the period in question, Icelandair was warned regarding its delinquencies, which nonetheless continued.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.icelandair.com/



Continental Airlines, Inc.

Order 2011-6-1
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84

Issued and Served June 2, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by Continental Airlines, Inc. of the full-fare advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR 399.84 and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712. This order directs Continental to cease and desist from future violations of section 399.84 and section 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $120,000.

A recent review of Continental’s website by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings disclosed instances where Continental failed to comply with the Department’s full-fare advertising rule with respect to fuel surcharges for the “nearest airports” feature on its website. As an example, a consumer conducting a search for round-trip airfare from San Jose, California, to San Salvador, El Salvador, was taken to a landing page titled “Select Departing Flight,” showing flights operating on that route. On the landing page above the list of available flights, the consumer was given the option for fares from “nearby airports” from $298, excluding taxes and fees. Upon selecting the “nearby airports” option, the consumer was taken to another landing page listing flights and corresponding fares, where a flight departing from San Francisco was listed for $298, excluding taxes and fees. If the consumer selected that flight, he or she was taken to a third page, where the lowest fare for that flight was now listed as $538, excluding taxes and fees, rather than $298. This significant difference was due to Continental having excluded so-called “fuel surcharges” of $240 from the fare of $298 that it initially advertised. During the time period when the fuel surcharges were omitted from the initial fare advertised through Continental’s “nearby airports” option, a significant number of consumers reviewed the option and purchased their airfare through the option.

By failing to include fuel surcharges in the advertised fare where it was first presented Continental violated the full-fare advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR 399.84 and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

Continental, US Airways Fined for Violating DOT Price Advertising Rules - DOT Press Release

http://www.continental.com/



Global Airline Services, Inc.

Order 2011-6-3
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC §§ 41101 and 41712

Issued and Served June 2, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns unauthorized air transportation by Global Airline Services, Inc and Harold J. Pareti. Since at least 2009, Mr. Pareti and Global, a business entity over which he exercises absolute ownership, direction, and control, have engaged in the provision of air transportation as an indirect air carrier without holding requisite economic authority from the Department of Transportation. This consent order also concerns separate and distinct violations of the Department's prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition, 49 USC § 41712, arising from Respondents' marketing and sale of air transportation services ultimately operated by a company that did not hold proper authority from the Department. This order directs Respondents to cease and desist from such further violations and assesses a compromise civil penalty of $120,000.

By: Rosalind Knapp

Global Airline Services Fined for Selling Air Transportation Without DOT Approval - DOT Press Release

http://globalairlineservices.net/ - Website Currently Unavailable



US Airways, Inc.

Order 2011-6-2
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84

Issued and Served June 2, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by US Airways, Inc. that violate the advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR Part 399, as well as 49 USC § 41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices. This order directs US Airways to cease and desist from future violations of Part 399, and section 41712 and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $45,000.

For a period of time in early 2011, US Airways’ homepage displayed an advertisement stating “Rome, sweet Rome from $659 roundtrip.” An asterisk appeared following the fare as well as a second asterisk below the fare next to the statement “Addt’l taxes/fees may apply,” without further elaboration. Nowhere on the advertisement itself or elsewhere on the homepage on which the advertisement appeared were the nature and amount of the additional taxes stated.3 While the reference to taxes and fees being additional was a hyperlink, it did not take the reader directly to an explanation of those additional charges.

By failing to provide adequate notice of taxes and fees that were not included in its advertised fares as described above, US Airways violated 14 CFR 399.84 and engaged in unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

Continental, US Airways Fined for Violating DOT Price Advertising Rules - DOT Press Release

http://www.usairways.com/



TACA International Airlines, S.A.

Order 2011-6-5
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84

Issued and Served June 3, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet airfare advertisements by TACA International Airlines, S.A. that violate the advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR Part 399.84, as well as 49 USC § 41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices. It directs TACA to cease and desist from future violations of section 399.84 and section 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $55,000.

For a period of time in 2010 and 2011, TACA employed a program on its website that allowed consumers to search for flights by exact dates or by flexible dates. In responding to searches using either method, TACA provided airfare quotes, either through a fare listing or a fare matrix. The quotes, which were the first time fares were presented to consumers, noted that the fares did not include taxes and fees, but TACA failed to disclose at that time the nature and amount of those taxes and fees in any of the acceptable ways.

By: Rosalind Knapp

TACA Fined for Violating DOT Price Advertising Rules - DOT Press Release

http://www.taca.com/



Frontier Airlines, Inc.

Order 2011-6-10
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 14 CFR 234.11 and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served June 9, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by Frontier Airlines, Inc. of the Department’s requirements in 14 CFR 234.11 to display on-time performance data for each domestic flight for which schedule information is available on the initial listing of flights on its website. These violations of section 234.11 also constitute unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712. This order directs Frontier to cease and desist from future violations of section 234.11 and 49 USC § 41712 and assesses the carrier $40,000 in civil penalties.

The Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings’ review of Frontier’s website and information provided by Frontier revealed that OTP data were not available to consumers visiting Frontier’s website during a period of time in early 2011, a significant violation of the Department’s OTP rule. Frontier did not discover or correct the deficiency until after the Enforcement Office notified Frontier of the deficiency. The failure to display OTP data violated section 234.11 and constituted an unfair and deceptive practice and unfair method of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

Frontier Airlines Fined for Failing to Display On-Time Performance on its Website - DOT Press Release

http://www.frontierairlines.com/



Cameron Air Services, Inc.

Order 2011-6-19
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC 41703 and 41712 and 14 CFR 294.81

Issued and Served June 17, 2011

Consent Order

This order concerns unauthorized passenger air service between two cities in the United States by Cameron Air Service, Inc. a Canadian charter air taxi registered with the Department pursuant to 14 CFR Part 294, that violates 49 USC §§ 41703 and 41712 and 14 CFR Part 294. It directs Cameron to cease and desist from future violations of Part 294 and sections 41703 and 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $20,000.

On January 16, 2011, the Cameron C-208 aircraft entered the United States at TEB from Toronto City Airport, Canada carrying two passengers. At TEB, two additional passengers boarded the aircraft and accompanied the party to BOS. In BOS, the two passengers originating at TEB discontinued their journey, and the two Toronto-originating passengers returned to Toronto, Canada. The flights were performed pursuant to a single-entity charter1 agreement between Cameron and one of the Toronto-originating passengers.

It is a violation of 49 USC § 41703 for a foreign civil aircraft to transport passengers or cargo solely between two points in the United States for compensation or hire, even if the aircraft is being operated pursuant to a single entity charter that, in other respects, begins or ends outside the United States. Thus, for purposes of 49 USC § 41703, where a single-entity charter involves the operation of a foreign aircraft in US airspace, as in this case, the journey of each passenger carried on the chartered aircraft, rather than the entire itinerary paid for by the charterer, is considered a separate act of providing air transportation for compensation or hire. If the journey of any individual on such a charter is entirely between two US points, then the carriage of that passenger constitutes cabotage.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.cameronair.com/



Deutsche Lufthansa AG

Order 2011-6-18
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of Article 19 of the Montreal Convention and 49 USC 41712

Issued and Served June 17, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order involves violations by Deutsche Lufthansa AG of Article 19 of the Montreal Convention and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive trade practices, 49 USC § 41712, in connection with monetary claims resulting from its delay in delivering checked baggage. It directs Lufthansa to cease and desist from future similar violations of Article 19 and section 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $50,000.

Based on a consumer complaint, the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings investigated Lufthansa’s policies and practices in connection with its handling of monetary claims for delay in delivering checked baggage. That investigation showed that in a number of instances arising out of flights to and from the United States Lufthansa was limiting reimbursement to 50 percent of the claimed expense against original receipts for damages associated with a delay in returning checked baggage. That investigation also determined that on some occasions Lufthansa was using language in letters to claimants reflecting this practice and had accordingly advised numerous claimants who had requested reimbursement for their expenses associated with the delay in returning checked baggage that Lufthansa would reimburse only 50 percent of the cost of clothing items and 100 percent of the cost of toiletries and underwear. The practical effect of using this language in the letters was to limit in some instances Lufthansa’s liability for damage occasioned by delay to less than the minimum 1,131 SDRs required by the Montreal Convention.

By: Rosalind Knapp

Lufthansa Fined for Improperly Limiting Reimbursements for Delayed Baggage - DOT Press Release

http://www.lufthansa.com/



China Airlines, Ltd.

Order 2011-6-20
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84

Issued and Served June 21, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by China Airlines, Ltd. that violate the advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR 399.84, as well as 49 USC § 41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices. It directs China Airlines to cease and desist from future violations of section 399.84 and section 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $80,000.

For a period of time, China Airlines’ web page displayed advertisements that did not provide any information on additional taxes and fees, including the September 11th Security Fee. Therefore consumers did not learn of the full fare amount until just prior to purchasing the fare. China Airlines’ failure to provide proper notice of taxes and fees that may properly be stated separately from the fare violates 14 CFR 399.84 and 49 USC § 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

China Airlines Fined for Violating DOT Price Advertising Rules - DOT Press Release



Atkinson & Mullen Travel II, LLC; AVW II, LLC; AMCAL Vacations II, LLC; and ABV, LLC d/b/a Apple Vacations

Order 2011-6-32
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 14 CFR Part 257 and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served June 30, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by Atkinson & Mullen Travel II, LLC; AVW II, LLC; AMCAL Vacations II, LLC; and ABV, LLC d/b/a Apple Vacations, online ticket agents, of the Department’s code-share disclosure rule, 14 CFR Part 257, and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712. It also separately directs Atkinson & Mullen Travel II, LLC; AVW II, LLC; AMCAL Vacations II, LLC; and ABV, LLC in their individual capacities to cease and desist from future violations of Part 257 and section 41712 and jointly and severally assesses them a $50,000 civil penalty.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed a significant lack of compliance by Apple Vacations with section 257.5. During at least the latter half of 2010, Apple Vacations failed to properly disclose the existence of code-sharing arrangements when advertising code-share flights operated on behalf of a major air carrier by a regional air carrier on its Internet website. Specifically, it did not display the corporate names of the transporting carriers and any other names under which those flights were held out to the public on its flight itinerary pages. Apple Vacations’ failure to properly disclose the existence of code-sharing arrangements and the names of the transporting carriers could have deceived consumers regarding the identity of the airline that was actually to operate the aircraft on which the consumer would be flying.

By: Rosalind Knapp

DOT Fines Ticket Agents for Violations of Codeshare Disclosure and Price Advertising Rules - DOT Press Release



Globester, LLC

Order 2011-6-33
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR Parts 399 and 257

Issued and Served June 30, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by Globester, LLC that violated the Department’s full-fare advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR Part 399, the Department’s code-share disclosure rule, 14 CFR Part 257, and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712. It directs Globester to cease and desist from future violations of Parts 399 and 257 and section 41712, and assesses Globester a compromise civil penalty of $40,000.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed a significant lack of compliance by Globester with the Department’s full-fare advertising rule. From at least August of 2010 through the early part of 2011, Globester failed to properly disclose to consumers that additional taxes and fees applied to fares advertised on its Internet website, www.globester.com, and it failed to include the 7.5 percent Federal excise tax, as well as its own service fee, in its advertised fares.

More specifically, Globester advertised a number of fares on its homepage but failed to notify consumers that additional taxes and fees would be added to the advertised fares. Following a search of a requested itinerary, Globester advertised fares at the top if its flight itinerary page via a fare matrix. While an asterisk was placed next to the fares contained in the fare matrix, and the language “(*) Fare are exclusive of taxes and fees” appeared at the bottom of the fare matrix, the quoted language was not a hyperlink and consumers had no way of knowing either the amount or the nature of the taxes and fees that would be applied to the advertised fares.

Globester also advertised, on its flight itinerary page, a list of fares that corresponded with the fares it listed in its fare matrix. Next to the fares was a “+ Taxes & Fees” hyperlink, which displayed a pop-up in which the amount of the taxes and fees and the full fare was disclosed. The pop-up, however, did not display the nature of the taxes and fees that were excluded from the advertised fare. Globester’s failure to disclose the nature of the advertised fares on its flight itinerary page consequently resulted in Globester failing to inform consumers that it excluded the September 11th Security Fee from the fares advertised on the flight itinerary page, as required by 49 CFR 1510.7, which constitutes a separate violation of 49 USC § 41712. Finally, the fares that Globester advertised on both the homepage of www.globester.com and on the website’s flight itinerary pages excluded Globester’s service fee and the 7.5 percent Federal excise tax, which are taxes and fees that may not be broken-out from the base fare.

Our investigation also revealed a significant lack of compliance by Globester with section 257.5 of the Department’s code-share disclosure rule. During at least the latter half of 2010, Globester failed to properly disclose the existence of code-sharing arrangements when advertising code-share flights operated on behalf of a major air carrier by a regional air carrier on its Internet website, www.globester.com. Specifically, it did not display the corporate names of the transporting carriers and any other names under which those flights were held out to the public on its flight itinerary pages. Globester’s failure to properly disclose the existence of code-sharing arrangements and the names of the transporting carriers resulted in consumers having no way of knowing the identity of the airline that would actually operate the aircraft on which they would be flying.

By: Rosalind Knapp

DOT Fines Ticket Agents for Violations of Codeshare Disclosure and Price Advertising Rules - DOT Press Release



LBF Travel, Inc.

Order 2011-6-34
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR Parts 399 and 257

Issued and Served June 30, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by LBF Travel, Inc. that violated the Department’s full-fare advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR Part 399, the Department’s code-share disclosure rule, 14 CFR Part 257, and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712. It directs LBF to cease and desist from future violations of Parts 399 and 257 and section 41712, and assesses LBF a compromise civil penalty of $30,000.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed a significant lack of compliance by LBF with the Department’s full-fare advertising rule. During at least the early part of 2011, LBF failed to include the 7.5 percent Federal excise tax, as well as its own service fee, in fares advertised on its Internet website.

More specifically, on the LBF flight itinerary page, it advertised fares with a “+ Taxes & Fees” hyperlink next to the fare. The “+ Taxes & Fees” hyperlink displayed a pop-up in which the amount of the taxes and fees and the fare were disclosed. Such fares did not include the 7.5 percent Federal excise tax and LBF’s service fee, which are taxes and fees that may not be broken-out from the base fare. Additionally, LBF failed to properly disclose the excluded September 11th Security Fee on the flight itinerary page, as required by 49 CFR 1510.7, which constitutes a separate violation of 49 USC § 41712.

Our investigation also revealed a significant lack of compliance by LBF with section 257.5 of the Department’s code-share disclosure rule. During at least the latter half of 2010, LBF failed to properly disclose the existence of code-sharing arrangements when advertising code-share flights operated on behalf of a major air carrier by a regional air carrier on its Internet website. Specifically, it did not display the corporate names of the transporting carriers and any other names under which those flights were held out to the public on its flight itinerary pages. LBF’s failure to properly disclose the existence of code-sharing arrangements and the names of the transporting carriers resulted in consumers having no way of knowing the identity of the airline that would actually operate the aircraft on which they would be flying.

By: Rosalind Knapp

DOT Fines Ticket Agents for Violations of Codeshare Disclosure and Price Advertising Rules - DOT Press Release



Atlantic Southeast Airlines

Order 2011-7-4
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 14 CFR Part 382 and 49 USC §§ 41310, 41702, 41705 and 41712

Issued and Served July 11, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by Atlantic Southeast Airlines of the requirements of 14 CFR Part 382 with respect to providing wheelchair assistance to passengers with a disability. Part 382 implements the Air Carrier Access Act, 49 USC § 41705, and violations of that part also violate the ACAA. To the extent that the ACAA and Part 382 violations occurred in interstate air transportation, the incidents are also violations of 49 USC § 41702, which requires that air carriers provide safe and adequate interstate air transportation. To the extent the violations occurred in foreign air transportation, the incidents violate 49 USC § 41310, which, in part, prohibits air carriers and foreign air carriers from unreasonably discriminating against any person in foreign air transportation. Violations of Part 382 also constitute unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712.

During June 2010, the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings conducted a review and inspection at Atlantic Southeast’s Atlanta offices and airport operations regarding the carrier’s compliance with Department consumer protection requirements. The Aviation Enforcement Office reviewed, among other things, disability related complaints received by the carrier from January 2009 through May 2010. That review disclosed a number of apparent violations of sections 382.91 through 382.105 [formerly section 382.39] during the pertinent time period. A number of these complaints appear to involve egregious violations of Part 382.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://flyasa.com/



Air Canada

Order 2011-8-8
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84

Issued and Served August 4, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by Air Canada that violate the advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR 399.84, as well as 49 USC § 41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices. It directs Air Canada to cease and desist from future violations of section 399.84 and section 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $50,000.

For a period of time in early 2011, Air Canada displayed advertisements on several websites that did not advise consumers of the amount of taxes and fees that must be paid in addition to the advertised fare or directly bring the consumer to the information on additional taxes and fees. Rather, once the consumer clicked on the advertisement, he or she was taken to a landing page on Air Canada’s website where a list of routes and prices were displayed and consumers were not advised the details of the additional taxes and fees, stated in fine print, unless they scrolled to the bottom of the page. By failing to provide notice of the government imposed taxes and fees in any of the manners described above, Air Canada violated section 399.84, and applicable Department enforcement case precedent, and 49 USC § 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

DOT Fines Air Canada for Violating Price Advertising Rules - DOT Press Release, August 4, 2011

http://www.aircanada.com/



United Air Lines, Inc.

Order 2011-8-7
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served August 4, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns inaccurate information provided by United Air Lines, Inc. to consumers regarding its liability limit for lost, damaged, or delayed baggage on flights covered by the Montreal Convention in violation of 49 USC § 41712. The order directs United to cease and desist from future similar violations of section 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $20,000.

In January 2011, the Enforcement Office learned that, notwithstanding our notice, United was distributing ticket wallets printed after the effective date of the increase in the liability limit that stated that the carrier’s baggage liability limit per ticketed passenger for flights covered by the Convention was still 1000 SDRs. An Enforcement Office investigation subsequently found that a significant number of these ticket wallets were given to a small group of customers who checked in at United ticket counters. However, the investigation found no evidence that United had applied the old 1000 SDR limit when handling baggage-related complaints arising out of transportation that it provided after the effective date of the new 1,131 SDR limit. Further, there was no evidence that any passenger who had traveled after the effective date of the limit increase had unilaterally adjusted downward the amount of his or her claim based on the erroneous information in the ticket wallets.

In mitigation, United states that it is strongly committed to providing proper disclosures of all information that its customers need to receive, including notices concerning the Montreal Convention. United further states that the ticket wallet in question came from a single batch of erroneous wallets printed in June 2010, a time long after its nearly 30 different documents, tariffs webpages and other publications had all been properly updated to reflect the otherwise fully implemented Montreal Convention baggage liability limit at United. Importantly, United notes that it fully complied with the Montreal Convention by applying the proper baggage liability limitation which was listed on its more widely utilized and referenced passenger ticket receipts, its contract of carriage, and its passenger claims forms. United believes that no consumers were misled by this isolated batch of ticket wallets, which were distributed to less than one half of one percent of its passengers in 2010. Nevertheless, promptly upon notification of the issue, United states that all such remaining outdated wallets anywhere in its worldwide system were removed and destroyed.

By: Rosalind Knapp

DOT Fines United Airlines for Providing Inaccurate Information About Baggage Liability - DOT Press Release, August 4, 2011

http://www.united.com/


Aviation Advantage, Inc.

Order 2011-8-13
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC §§ 41101 and 41712 and 14 CFR Part 380

Issued and Served August 10, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by Aviation Advantage, Inc. of the licensing requirements of 49 USC § 41101 and public charter regulation in 14 CFR Part 380, as well as violations by the company of 49 USC § 41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition. In 2009, AAI advertised public charter flights, through its agents, without complying with the disclosure requirements in 14 CFR Part 380. In 2010, AAI engaged in air transportation without holding requisite economic authority from the Department of Transportation in violation of 49 USC §§ 41101 and 41712. This order also concerns separate violations of 49 USC § 41712 arising from AAI’s marketing and selling of air transportation on a direct air carrier that did not hold economic authority from the Department to engage in air transportation. This order requires AAI to cease and desist from such violations and assesses the company a compromise civil penalty of $150,000.

The Enforcement Office wants to make clear that the fact that the passengers AAI placed on Capital Airways’ casino flights were drawn from a “limited” pool of “pre-existing” customers, does not mean that the air service was outside the scope of common carriage. These passengers were obtained indirectly by Capital Airways through advertising on AAI’s behalf by its agents. An entity that is not duly licensed to engage in air transportation, such as Capital Airways, may not carry traffic obtained as a result of the marketing efforts of a third party.

By: Rosalind Knapp


 

Swift Air, LLC

Order 2011-8-14
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR Part 380

Issued and Served August 10, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations of certain consumer protection provisions of the Department of Transportation’s Public Charter regulations, 14 CFR 380.43, by Swift Air, LLC, a direct air carrier, stemming from its voluntary cancellation of a public charter flight less than 10 days before the scheduled departure date without demonstrating circumstances that rendered it physically impossible for Swift Air to conduct the operation. These violations also constituted unfair and deceptive trade practices and unfair methods of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712. This order directs Swift Air to cease and desist from future similar violations and assesses a compromise civil penalty of $100,000.

The FAA’s compliance concerns stemmed from alleged deficiencies in Swift Air’s pilot training manual and the qualifications of its crewmembers to conduct Part 121 operations. Based on the Enforcement Office’s investigation of this matter, the FAA’s concerns were, at the time they were initially raised with Swift Air, of sufficient gravity that it was reasonably foreseeable that the suspension of Swift Air’s operating authority could result. It was, therefore, incumbent upon the carrier to take prompt action to avoid significant harm to the passengers that might arise due to a last-minute cancellation in the event these problems could not be resolved. Rather, Swift Air chose to proceed without taking such action. Swift Air’s last minute cancellation of the PC-11-066 flight on June 17, 2011, caused consumers who had purchased tickets for this flight and the subsequent flights significant inconvenience when they were left without readily available and acceptable travel alternatives.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.swiftaviation.com/


 

Air Charters, Inc. d/b/a Air Flamenco

Order 2011-8-16
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC §§ 41101, 41712, 41738 and 14 CFR Part 298

Issued and Served August 12, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns unauthorized scheduled passenger service as a commuter air carrier by Air Charters, Inc., d/b/a Air Flamenco in violation of 49 USC §§ 41101, 41712, and 41738 and 14 CFR Part 298, the Department’s commuter air carrier requirements. It directs Air Flamenco to cease and desist from further violations of these statutory provisions and federal regulation and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $30,000.

While Air Flamenco may have believed that it was in compliance with FAA safety regulations in 2007, it remains clear that Air Flamenco exceeded its authority under the Department’s economic regulatory requirements under 49 USC § 41101 and 14 CFR Part 298 when it operated more than four flights per week according to a published schedule between Culebra, Puerto Rico, and various other points including Vieques, Puerto Rico, Ceiba, Puerto Rico, and Isla Grande, Puerto Rico.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.airflamenco.net/



Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise

Order 2011-8-20
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84

Issued and Served August 18, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise that violated the advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR Part 399, as well as 49 USC § 41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices. It directs Ethiopian Airlines to cease and desist from future violations of Part 399 and section 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $50,000.

For a period of time in 2011, consumers searching Ethiopian Airlines’ website for round-trip flights from a point in the United States to a point outside the United States using one of two alternative booking paths provided on the website, labeled “Search by fare,” were not provided with the entire price to be paid at the first point a fare was displayed. Rather, the fare Ethiopian Airlines initially displayed was subject to “additional taxes/fees” and the webpage displaying such fare did not provide any information describing these additional taxes and fees, including identifying the September 11th Security Fee, nor was this information presented to consumers in one of the acceptable alternative methods described above. Therefore, consumers did not learn of the full fare amount until just prior to purchasing the fare. Additionally, Ethiopian Airlines failed to include a significant carrier-imposed fuel surcharge in the advertised fare when it first was displayed, further misleading consumers with an artificially low initially advertised fare.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.flyethiopian.com/



Thai Airways International Public Company Limited

Order 2011-8-21
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84

Issued and Served August 25, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by Thai Airways International Public Company Limited that violated the advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR Part 399, as well as 49 USC § 41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices. It directs Thai Airways to cease and desist from future violations of Part 399 and section 41712 and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $70,000.

For a period of time, consumers searching Thai Airways’ US website for round-trip flights from a point in the US to a point outside the US were not provided with information sufficient to permit them to determine the entire price to be paid at the first point fares were displayed during the booking process. Rather, consumers were provided with a selection of fares of varying amounts organized by the date of the outbound and return flight along with a statement, without further elaboration, that “[t]otal prices including taxes will be displayed at the next steps.” Thus, this webpage did not provide consumers with any information describing additional taxes and fees, nor was this information presented to consumers in one of the acceptable alternative methods described above. Instead, consumers learned of the full fare amount two webpages later just prior to purchasing the fare. Additionally, Thai Airways failed to include a carrier-imposed fuel surcharge and a carrier-imposed insurance fee in the initially displayed fares, further misleading consumers with an artificially low initially advertised fare. Moreover, the September 11th Security Fee was one of the additional taxes and fees that was not included in the initially displayed fares and the carrier failed to identify the fee as required.

By: Rosalind Knapp

DOT Fines Thai Airways for Violating Price Advertising Rules - DOT Press Release

http://www.thaiair.com/



The Craig Evan Corporation d/b/a Flightexec

Order 2011-8-22
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC §§ 41301, 41703 and 41712

Issued and Served August 25, 2011

Consent Order

This order concerns unauthorized passenger air service between points in the United States by The Craig Evan Corporation doing business as Flightexec, a Canadian air carrier authorized by the Department to engage in foreign air transportation pursuant to an exemption from the permit requirement in 49 USC § 41301. The carriage of local traffic for compensation or hire by foreign air carriers between two points in the United States, a practice commonly referred to as cabotage, violates 49 USC § 41703, which prohibits cabotage except under very limited circumstances that do not apply here. In addition, a foreign air carrier that holds out to the public without authorization, either expressly or by course of conduct, that it provides cabotage service violates 49 USC § 41301. Violations of sections 41301 and 41703 also constitute an unfair and deceptive trade practice and unfair method of competition in violation of 49 USC §41712. This consent order directs Flightexec to cease and desist from such further violations and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $10,000.

The violations that are the subject of this order occurred between February 11, 2011, and February 14, 2011, when a Flightexec-operated Beech BE200 aircraft (registration C-GCET) transported a passenger for compensation or hire between Fulton County, Georgia and Thomasville, Georgia, without having carried that passenger between the United States and a foreign point.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.flightexec.com/



Emirates

Order 2011-8-24
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of Articles 17 and 19 of the Montreal Convention and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served August 30, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order involves violations by the foreign air carrier Emirates of Articles 17 and 19 of the Montreal Convention and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive trade practices, 49 USC § 41712, in connection with monetary claims resulting from damage, loss, or delay to baggage checked on Emirates’ flights to or from the United States. It directs Emirates to cease and desist from future violations of Articles 17 and 19 and section 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $100,000.

Based on a consumer complaint, the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings investigated Emirates’ policies and practices in connection with its handling of monetary claims for baggage checked on flights to or from the United States that was lost, damaged, or delayed. That investigation showed multiple instances of violations of the Montreal Convention by Emirates. For example, in many cases, Emirates denied reimbursement for high value items such as lost electronics, jewelry, and cameras. In its written responses to passengers, Emirates stated that its contract of carriage limited its liability for lost high value items such as jewelry and electronics and certain damage to baggage and incorrectly stated that limiting its liability in that manner was in accordance with the Montreal. In addition, the page on Emirates’ website with “Delayed and Damaged Baggage” information stated that Emirates was not liable for valuables damaged in transit.

Furthermore, in connection with delayed baggage, in many instances Emirates provided limited or no compensation to passengers and indicated that any compensation provided was a “courtesy” by Emirates and would be the only compensation offered for costs incurred by passengers whose baggage was delayed. In some responses to passengers, Emirates incorrectly stated that limiting its liability for costs related to delayed baggage was in accordance with the Montreal Convention and airline industry standards. Emirates’ actions in those cases effectively limited its liability for costs incurred by passengers as a result of baggage delays to far less than the minimum 1,131 SDRs required by the Montreal Convention.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.emirates.com/



jetBlue Airways, Ltd.

Order 2011-8-25
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84

Issued and Served August 30, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by jetBlue Airways, Ltd. that violated the advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR 399.84, as well as 49 USC § 41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices. It directs jetBlue to cease and desist from future violations of 399.84 and section 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $50,000.

For a period of time in early 2011, jetBlue displayed fare advertisements on several websites that did not provide any information on additional taxes and fees. Rather, once the consumer clicked on the advertisements, he or she was taken to jetBlue’s “Featured web fares” page where a list of routes and prices were displayed. Above that list appeared the statement “Taxes, fees, restrictions apply.” However, that statement was not a link and consumers could learn the amount of the additional taxes and fees, stated in fine print, only after scrolling to the bottom of the page or clicking on a link next to each of the listed fares. jetBlue’s failure on several websites to provide proper notice of taxes and fees that may legally be stated separately from the fare violates 14 CFR 399.84 and 49 USC § 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.jetblue.com/



Amadeus IT Group, S.A.

Order 2011-9-12
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served September 15, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns software developed by Amadeus IT Group, S.A., which, when installed by travel agency website developers in a manner that overlooked or misapplied instructions provided by Amadeus did not adequately disclose airline service that involved codeshare operations as required by 14 CFR Part 257, the Department's applicable rule. Such nondisclosure of codeshare service on the agency's retail displays constituted an unfair and deceptive practice and unfair method of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712. By this order, the Department finds that Amadeus facilitated and was indirectly responsible for these omissions, directs Amadeus to cease and desist from future similar violations and assesses the company $95,000 in civil penalties.

For a period of time Amadeus supplied its GDS subscribers with software that, if add-on software were not correctly installed, would present screen displays that did not provide codeshare disclosure as required by section 41712 and section 257.5 of the Department's rules. The Department has previously advised all GDSs that when they supply agents with website software it must be compliant with the Department's advertising requirements, in general, and code-share requirements, in particular. Where, as here, the GDS provides customizable software for retail travel agency use, and where the retail agency needs GDS instructions to properly install the software in order to comply with applicable codeshare disclosure requirements, then the GDS should provide retail travel vendors with ample notice of the steps that need to be taken to achieve compliance with such disclosure requirements. Many of the subscribers to Amadeus and other GDSs are small businesses with limited resources to devote to technical issues. Amadeus, as a ticket agent and as a major supplier of data and software to travel agents in the US and elsewhere, is responsible for and will be held accountable for providing appropriate notice about the manner in which its customizable software products must be installed to avoid errors in installation by its US subscribers that might lead to non-compliance with required codeshare disclosures.

By: Rosalind Knapp

DOT Fines Amadeus for Codeshare Disclosure Violations - DOT Press Release

http://www.amadeus.com/



Lowestfare.com, LLC

Order 2011-9-13
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 14 CFR Part 257 and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served September 16, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by Lowestfare.com, LLC, an online ticket agent, of the Department’s codeshare disclosure rule, 14 CFR Part 257, and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712. It also directs Lowestfare to cease and desist from future violations of Part 257 and section 41712 and assesses it a $50,000 civil penalty.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed a lack of compliance by Lowestfare with section 257.5. For a period of time during 2010, Lowestfare failed to properly disclose the existence of code-sharing arrangements when advertising code-share flights operated on behalf of a major air carrier by a regional air carrier on its Internet website. Specifically, it did not display the corporate names of the transporting carriers and any other names under which those flights were held out to the public on its flight itinerary pages or the initial page on which fares were advertised to the public. Lowestfare’s failure to properly disclose the existence of codesharing arrangements and the names of the transporting carriers could have deceived consumers regarding the identity of the airline that actually operated the aircraft on which they flew.

By: Rosalind Knapp

DOT Fines Lowestfare.com for Violations of Codeshare Disclosure Rules - DOT Press Release

http://lowestfare.com/



Virgin Atlantic Airways, Ltd.

Order 2011-9-18
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84

Issued and Served September 26, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by Virgin Atlantic Airways, Ltd. that violate the advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR 399.84, as well as 49 USC § 41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices. It directs Virgin Atlantic to cease and desist from future violations of 399.84 and section 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $50,000.

For a period of time Virgin Atlantic displayed advertisements on several websites that did not provide direct access to information on additional taxes and fees. Rather, once the consumer clicked on the advertised fare, he or she was taken to a landing page where sample routes and prices were displayed, as well as fine print, reached only after scrolling to the bottom of the page which explained the nature and amounts of additional taxes and fees. Virgin Atlantic’s failure to provide proper notice of taxes and fees that may legally be stated separately from the fare violates 14 CFR 399.84 and 49 USC § 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

DOT Fines Virgin Atlantic for Violating Price Advertising Rules - DOT Press Release

http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/



Aerovias de Integracion Regional, AIRES S.A.

Order 2011-10-2
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of Article 17 of the Montreal Convention and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served October 7, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order involves violations by Aerovias de Intergración Regional, AIRES, S.A. of Article 17 of the Montreal Convention and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive trade practices, 49 USC § 41712, in connection with monetary claims resulting from the loss of checked baggage and the pilferage of certain items out of checked baggage on flights to and from the United States. It directs AIRES to cease and desist from future similar violations of Article 17 and section 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $25,000.

Based on a consumer complaint, the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings investigated AIRES’s policies and practices in connection with its handling of monetary claims regarding loss, damage, and delay of checked baggage. That investigation found that in a number of instances arising out of flights to and from the United States, AIRES was disclaiming as a matter of course liability for various classes of items. Specifically, on its website and in written responses to consumers, AIRES stated that it was not liable for “cameras, video cameras, video components, sound equipment, portable computers, articles of value generally, valuable titles, money, jewelry, glass bottles (liquor, perfumes), dinner sets (china), ceramics, pocket calculators, palms (palm pilots), computers, cells, walkmen, discmen, (and) personal documents.” In reviewing claims submitted to AIRES, the Enforcement Office found that it was AIRES’ practice to deny all liability for the loss or pilferage of these enumerated items in a passenger’s checked baggage.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.aires.com.co/



Orbitz Worldwide, LLC

Order 2011-10-5
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84

Issued and Served October 17, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by Orbitz Worldwide, LLC. that violated the advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR Part 399, as well as 49 USC § 41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices. It directs Orbitz to cease and desist from future violations of Part 399 and section 41712, and assesses the company a compromise civil penalty of $60,000.

For a period of time in early 2011, Orbitz’s homepage displayed advertisements that did not provide any information on additional taxes and fees. Nowhere in the advertisement itself or on the homepage were the nature and amount of the additional taxes stated. Rather, once the consumer clicked on the advertisement, he or she was taken to a landing page where the advertisements were once again displayed followed by fine print at the bottom of the page explaining the nature and exact amounts of fees. Thus, consumers were not notified of the additional taxes and fees applicable to the fare sale until after they arrived at the landing page and scrolled down to the bottom of the page. Orbitz’s failure to provide proper notice of taxes and fees that may legally be stated separately from the fare violates 14 CFR 399.84 and 49 USC § 41712.

Further, Orbitz advertised on its “Dynamo” pages, the “cheapest most-recent weekend and cheapest most-recent any-time fares found by other Orbitz.com users.” These fares were supposed to be updated every twenty-four hours. However, they were not. Rather, consumers who selected a fare from a “Dynamo” page were taken to a landing page where an entirely different fare was displayed. As stated above, advertising a fare that is no longer available or failing to have a reasonable number.

By: Rosalind Knapp

DOT Fines Orbitz for Violating Price Advertising Rules - DOT Press Release

http://www.orbitz.com/



Destination Southern Africa, Inc. d/b/a South African Airways Vacations

Order 2011-10-11
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84

Issued and Served October 24, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by Destination Southern Africa, Inc., and Destination Southern Africa d/b/a South African Airways Vacations of the Department’s advertising requirements specified in section 399.84 of the Department’s regulations that also constitute unfair and deceptive trade practices and unfair methods of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712. This order directs Destination Southern Africa to cease and desist from future violations and assesses the company a compromise civil penalty of $20,000.

An investigation by the Department’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings disclosed that the air tour packages promoted by Destination Southern Africa d/b/a South African Airways Vacations on the South African Airways Vacations’ web site, www.flysaavacations.com, did not comply with Department requirements. This was likewise true of the air tour package advertisements displayed on Destination Southern Africa’s own web site, www.myafricavacation.com. More specifically, in both cases, the listed prices did not properly identify the existence, nature or amount of additional taxes and fees stated in these solicitations, including the September 11th Security Fee.

By failing to provide appropriate notice at the point where the cost of an air tour trip was first revealed of the existence and amount of government taxes and fees that are permitted to be broken out of the price that is displayed and by failing to disclose the existence of significant restrictions associated with the price of its air tour packages, such as double occupancy requirements, when the price was first listed, Destination Southern Africa violated the Department’s regulations and enforcement case precedent.

In addition to violating the requirements of section 399.84 and related Department precedent and enforcement policies, Destination Southern Africa’s practices constitute an unfair and deceptive trade practice in violation of 49 USC § 41712. Destination Southern Africa engaged in a separate violation of 49 USC § 41712 by failing to identify the September 11th Security Fee as required by 49 CFR 1510.7.

By: Rosalind Knapp

DOT Fines South African Airways and Ticket Agent for Violating Price Advertising Rules - DOT Press Release

http://www.flysaavacations.com/



South African Airways PTY Limited

Order 2011-10-12
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84

Issued and Served October 24, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by South African Airways PTY Limited of the Department’s advertising requirements specified in section 399.84 of the Department’s regulations that also constitute unfair and deceptive trade practices and unfair methods of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712. This order directs South African Airways to cease and desist from future violations and assesses the company a compromise civil penalty of $55,000.

An investigation by the Department’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings (“Enforcement Office”) disclosed that, for a period of time in late 2010 and early 2011, air tour packages promoted by South African Airways on its web sites and those of others did not comply with Department requirements. More specifically, the listed prices did not properly identify the existence, nature or amount of additional taxes and fees stated in these solicitations, including the September 11th Security fee. For example, the Enforcement Office conducted a search of an Internet advertisement on the home page of South African Airways’ site. The advertisement consisted of a picture of a South African Airways airplane and stated: “SAA Vacation Package” --“Includes air, hotel & more!” Next to that advertisement, another promotion stated: “Luxury Botswana Vacation” – “From $4,799* p/p Includes, air, hotel & more!” When users continued by clicking on the hyperlink next to either package, they were taken to the South African Airways Vacations web site to a heading entitled, “SPECIALS.” Only after users selected a specific vacation package and were taken to yet another web page were they able to learn that taxes and fees were extra, and that restrictions such as double occupancy purchase requirements applied, under what was denoted as the “Terms” of the air tour package. There was no mention proximate to the advertised fare that taxes and fees were additional, nor that significant restrictions apply. Enforcement Office staff was able to verify that other promotions contained virtually identical violations of the Department’s full-fare advertising requirements. From South African Airways’ web site, a customer pursuing additional information was ultimately transferred to South African Airways Vacations’ web site, www.flysaavacations.com, which is operated for South African Airways by Destination Southern Africa, Inc.

In addition to violating the requirements of section 399.84 and related Department precedent and enforcement policies, such practices constitute an unfair and deceptive trade practice in violation of 49 USC § 41712. South African Airways engaged in a separate violation of 49 USC § 41712 by failing to identify the September 11th Security Fee as required by 49 CFR 1510.7.

By: Rosalind Knapp

DOT Fines South African Airways and Ticket Agent for Violating Price Advertising Rules - DOT Press Release

http://www.flysaa.com/



LAN Airlines, S.A.

Order 2011-10-18
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84

Issued and Served October 26, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by LAN Airlines, S.A., a foreign air carrier, of the full fare advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR 399.84 and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712. It directs LAN to cease and desist from future violations of section 399.84 and section 41712 and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $50,000.

For a period of time in 2011, LAN employed a program on its website that allowed consumers to search for flights by exact dates or by flexible dates. In responding to searches using either method, LAN provided air fare quotes, either through a fare listing or a fare matrix. The quotes, which represented the first time fares were presented to consumers, noted that the fares did not include taxes and fees, but LAN failed to disclose at that time the nature and amount of those taxes and fees in any of the acceptable ways described above. LAN’s failure to provide proper notice of taxes and fees that may legally be stated separately from the fare violates 14 CFR 399.84 and 49 USC § 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

DOT Fines LAN Airlines for Violating Price Advertising Rules - DOT Press Release

http://www.lan.com/



Viajes Galiana, Inc.

Order 2011-10-19
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR Part 380

Issued and Served October 26, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations of certain consumer protection provisions of the Department of Transportation’s Public Charter regulations during 2011 by Viajes Galiana, Inc., a Public Charter operator, stemming from its failure to ensure that its authorized agents complied with the provisions of 14 CFR 380.30 when advertising Public Charter flights on VGI’s behalf. These violations also constituted unfair and deceptive trade practices and unfair methods of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712. This order directs VGI to cease and desist from future similar violations and assesses a compromise civil penalty of $10,000.

The Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings began an investigation of VGI in 2010 for advertising air charter service using an invalid Public Charter number. In late March 2011, the Enforcement Office learned that VGI was advertising its charter program through a Puerto Rican travel agency in a manner that violates 14 CFR Part 380. Specifically, newspaper advertisements for VGI charter vacation packages failed to include the name of the charter operator, the name of the direct air carrier, and either the full text of the operator-participant contract or a statement referring to the operator participant contract for further information about conditions applicable to the charter. According to VGI, the advertisements were published upon its request to the travel agency to market and sell seats on VGI’s charter on a space available basis. As a Public Charter operator, VGI must ensure that all advertisements for its charter operations, including those placed by agents on its behalf, comply with the Department’s rules. The violations committed by VGI had the potential to cause harm to consumers. By engaging in the conduct described above, VGI violated 14 CFR 380.30 and engaged in an unfair and deceptive practice in violation of 49 USC § 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.viajesgaliana.com/



Caribbean Airlines Limited

Order 2011-10-20
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of Articles 17 and 19 of the Montreal Convention and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served October 28, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order involves violations by Caribbean Airlines Limited of Articles 17 and 19 of the Montreal Convention and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive trade practices, 49 USC § 41712, in connection with monetary claims resulting from damage, loss, or delay to baggage checked on CAL’s flights to or from the United States. It directs CAL to cease and desist from future violations of Articles 17 and 19 and section 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $60,000.

Last spring, the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings reviewed CAL’s customer policies posted on its website concerning liability for lost, damaged, or delayed baggage. The office found information that, if applied, would contravene CAL’s obligations under the Convention regarding loss, damage, or delay of baggage checked on flights serving the United States to which the Convention applies. The ensuing investigation revealed many violations of the Convention during the thirteen-month period from March 1, 2010, through April 30, 2011. For example, in written responses to claims for lost or damaged items in checked baggage on flights covered by the Convention, CAL routinely advised passengers that the carrier assumed no liability for “irreplaceable” or high value items such as electronics (e.g., cell phones, IPods, computers), jewelry, cameras, cash, etc. These exclusions also appeared on the carrier’s website without sufficient clarification that they did not apply to claims subject to the Convention. In some instances, CAL responded to claims made for excluded items with erroneous statements such as “the airline industry does not offer compensation for such losses.” Our office also noted a number of instances in which claims were made by individuals alleging that high value items had been removed from carry-on bags they were required to check upon boarding due to cabin space limitations. Although CAL compensated a number of passengers for claims of loss or damage to high value items, a substantial number were denied.

The Enforcement Office also found other CAL baggage claim policies unacceptable. In a number of mishandled baggage claims involving missing items, CAL refused to accept responsibility unless the passenger had filed a Property Irregularity Report before leaving the airport terminal. This policy, apparently first disclosed to passengers in CAL’s letters responding to the passengers’ written claims, unreasonably limited the time the passengers had to establish that items were missing and notify the carrier. CAL also appeared to have a policy of denying claims for baggage damage such as broken wheels and handles. In response to such claims, CAL consistently informed passengers that it assumed no liability for such damage. CAL applied this policy without apparent regard to the condition of the bag when accepted. With respect to expenses incurred as a result of delayed baggage, CAL’s policy was to limit compensation to $25 - $75 per day for up to four days, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the delay.

CAL’s actions in connection with these baggage policies effectively limited its liability for costs incurred by passengers for baggage damage and delays to an amount far less than the minimum 1,131 SDRs required by the Convention. Through these actions, CAL violated Articles 17 and 19 of the Montreal Convention and engaged in an unfair and deceptive practice and unfair method of competition in violation of 49 USC §41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

Caribbean Airlines Fined for Improperly Limiting Reimbursements for Delayed Baggage - DOT Press Release

http://www.caribbean-airlines.com/



United Air Lines, Inc.

Order 2011-11-2
OST-2011-0003 - Compliance with 49 USC §§ 40127, 41202, 41310 and 41712

Issued and Served November 1, 2011

Consent Order

This order concerns violations by United Air Lines, Inc. of the Federal statutes prohibiting US and foreign air carriers from subjecting any air traveler to discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex or ancestry. The order directs United to cease and desist from future violations and assesses the carrier $60,000 in civil penalties.

The Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings investigated United’s compliance with the above-cited statutory prohibitions following a complaint that six members of a United Arab Emirates armed forces delegation were removed from and denied re-boarding on United flight 227 at the Denver International Airport on December 9, 2009, because they were perceived to be of Arab or Middle Eastern descent. While the Enforcement Office believes that there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the initial decision to remove the six member delegation from United flight 227 to conduct secondary screening was discriminatory, the evidence disclosed that United violated the law when it failed to re-board the passengers on the same flight after law enforcement officials determined that they were not a security threat. Once an individual who has been removed from an aircraft because of security concerns has been found to not be a security threat, the carrier must allow that individual to re-board the same aircraft and take his/her flight so long as the aircraft has not yet departed as was the case here. It is the view of the Enforcement Office that United’s failure to expeditiously re-board the passengers on flight 227 was a violation of 49 USC §§ 40127, 41702, 41310, and 41712.

By: DOT

http://www.united.com/



BusinessJet Class, LLC

Order 2011-11-10
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 14 CFR Part 257 and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served November 9, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by BusinessJet Class, LLC, an online airline ticket agent, of the Department’s codeshare disclosure rule, 14 CFR Part 257 and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712. It directs BusinessJet to cease and desist from future violations of Part 257 and section 41712 and assesses BusinessJet $40,000 in civil penalties.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed a significant lack of compliance by BusinessJet with section 257.5. During at least the latter half of 2010, BusinessJet failed to properly disclose the existence of codesharing arrangements when advertising code-share flights operated on behalf of a major air carrier by a regional air carrier on its Internet website www.jetcombo.com. Specifically, it did not display the corporate names of the transporting carriers and any other names under which those flights were held out to the public on its flight itinerary pages. BusinessJet’s failure to properly disclose the existence of codesharing arrangements and the names of the transporting carriers could have resulted in consumers being deceived regarding the identity of the airline that was actually to operate the aircraft on which the consumer would be flying.

By: Rosalind Knapp

DOT Fines BusinessJet Class for Violations of Codeshare Disclosure Rules - DOT Press Release



American Eagle Airlines, Inc.

Order 2011-11-13
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 14 CFR Part 259 and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served November 14, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations of 14 CFR Part 259 and 49 USC § 41712 involving the failure by American Eagle Airlines, Inc. to adhere to the assurances in its contingency plan for lengthy tarmac delays that the carrier would not permit a domestic flight to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours without providing passengers an opportunity to deplane. This order directs American Eagle to cease and desist from future similar violations of Part 259 and section 41712 and assesses the carrier $900,000 in civil penalties.

Even though the delay situation had been steadily deteriorating since 4:00 p.m., as late as 8:05 p.m., the ORD American Eagle Tower Manager on Duty incorrectly continued to believe that the delay situation was still manageable and communicated that belief to American Eagle’s System Operations Control Manager. At 8:30 p.m., American Eagle finally activated its “Drop and Go” contingency plan and began to clear two gates to implement the procedure. However, by that point in time, all 15 of the aircraft that eventually experienced three-plus hour tarmac delays were already on the ground, most for some time, holding at various locations on the airfield at ORD.

American Eagle indicated to the Enforcement Office that it chose not to deplane passengers on holding aircraft remotely on the airfield via airport busses because the carrier did not want to expose passengers to high noise and a poorly lit environment. However, the carrier admits that by the time it considered the possibility of utilizing airport busses to offload passengers, the coordination time for the bussing operations would have put the waiting flights beyond the three hour limit. By 9:00 p.m., American Eagle had cleared two gates for use in the “Drop and Go” procedure. Nonetheless, 15 flights remained on the tarmac in excess of three hours before deplaning passengers.

The Enforcement Office found that American Eagle’s overly optimistic estimation of its ability to handle the number of flights it chose to operate into ORD and its poor planning of its crew and gate resources caused 608 passengers to remain on aircraft in excess of three hours without the opportunity to deplane. Furthermore, the Enforcement Office also believes that American Eagle’s failure to implement in a timely manner its “Drop and Go” procedure, and its failure early in the incident to request assistance deplaning passengers remotely by bus from the Chicago Department of Aviation, contributed significantly to the carrier’s inability to deplane the 15 flights by the three-hour mark. This failure by American Eagle to adhere to the terms of its contingency plan by failing to offer each passenger the opportunity to deplane within three hours of arrival violates 14 CFR 295.4 and 49 USC § 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

US Department of Transportation Issues First Ever Fine For Tarmac Delay - ABC News, November 14, 2011

RITA-2007-28522 - Public Comments on Reporting Requirements for Aircraft Returning to Departure Gate
OST-2007-0022 - Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections
OST-2007-0108 - Lengthy On-Board Ground Delays Task Force
OST-2010-0039 - Final Rule Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections
OST-2010-0140 - Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections II

http://www.aa.com/i18n/footer/eagleOverview.jsp



Spirit Airlines, Inc.

Order 2011-11-23
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399

Issued and Served November 21, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns print and Twitter advertisements by Spirit Airlines, Inc. that violated the advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR 399.84, as well as 49 USC § 41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices. This order directs Spirit to cease and desist from future violations of section 399.84 and section 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $50,000.

For a short period of time in June 2011, Spirit ran a billboard and poster campaign to promote a new service. On a truck-borne billboard, an asterisk appeared next to the advertised fare for the new service alerting the viewer to the small print at the bottom of the ad which stated, “Additional taxes, fees, terms and conditions apply.” This general statement, while acknowledging the existence of taxes and fees, violated the Department’s full-fare advertising poster campaign, hand-held signs advertised fares with an asterisk next to each fare. However, the signs did not include any language disclosing either the existence or amount of additional taxes and fees that applied to the fares. Thus, the advertisements on the posters violated section 399.84 and 49 USC § 41712.

A review of Spirit’s Twitter feed disclosed additional instances where Spirit failed to comply with the Department’s full-fare advertising rule and case precedent. For example, Spirit’s Twitter feed included the following specific Twitter listing: “Check out our [fares] ~ from just $9* each way!” A consumer who clicked on the link proximate to this tweet was taken to a landing page on Spirit’s website where Spirit disclosed for the first time that these fares did not include all taxes and fees, and were subject to a roundtrip purchase requirement. Further, only after clicking on a second link, which took readers to the bottom of the landing page, was the amount of additional taxes and fees disclosed. Because the roundtrip purchase requirement and the existence and amount of taxes and fees were not disclosed on the specific tweets themselves, nor via any of the other permissible means as described above, Spirit violated section 399.84 and 49 USC § 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

DOT Fines Spirit Airlines for Violating Price Advertising Rules - DOT Press Release

http://www.spiritair.com/



SkyWest Airlines, Inc.

Order 2011-11-25
OST-2011-0003 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served November 22, 2011

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by SkyWest Airlines, Inc. of the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712, for creating and distributing advertisements that failed to properly provide notice that SkyWest would be the operator of the advertised air service. By this order, the Department finds that SkyWest facilitated the publication of these noncompliant advertisements, directs SkyWest to cease and desist from future similar violations and assesses SkyWest $40,000 in civil penalties.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed that SkyWest created and distributed to airports advertisements that failed to properly disclose the existence of code-sharing arrangements. Specifically, such advertisements created by SkyWest identified the trade name of SkyWest’s code-share partners as the service provider but failed to identify SkyWest as the actual operator of such flights. SkyWest created and distributed these advertisements to airports with the understanding that those airports would publish such advertisements. SkyWest’s role in facilitating the publication of these advertisements could have resulted in consumers being deceived regarding the identity of the airline that was actually to operate the aircraft on which the consumers would be flying. As such, SkyWest violated 49 USC § 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.skywest.com/


Home | Search | Help
OST by Number | OST by Order | OST by Carrier | OST by Subject | OST by Day
OIA by Carrier/Subject | OIA by Day | FAA by Number | FAA by Subject | FAA by Day
Carrier Financials | Charter Office