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OST-2012-0002 - Consent Orders


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AirTran Airways, Inc.

Order 2012-1-1
OST-2012-0002 - 2012 Consent Orders

Issued and Served January 4, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by AirTran Airways, Inc. 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 AirTran to cease and desist from future violations of 399.84 and section 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $60,000.

For a period of time in the fall of 2011 AirTran displayed an advertisement on various third-party websites stating “Select destination on SALE Starting at $59 one way.” The advertisement contained two asterisks, one following the fare and the other below the fare next to a statement reading, without further elaboration, “Additional taxes, fees, exclusions apply.” Nowhere in the advertisement 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 on AirTran’s website, where a list of routes and prices were displayed and consumers were not advised of the details of the additional taxes and fees, stated in fine print, unless they scrolled to the bottom of the page. AirTran’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 AirTran for Violating Price Advertising Rules - DOT Press Release

http://www.airtran.com/



Imagine Tours & Travel, LLC

Order 2012-1-5
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 399.84

Issued and Served January 9, 2012

Consent Order

Consent Order - Corrected

This consent order concerns advertisements of air tours by Imagine Tours & Travel, LLC that violated 14 CFR 399.84, the Department’s rule requiring disclosure of the full fare in advertising, and 49 USC § 41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices by air carriers and ticket agents. This order assesses a compromise civil penalty of $30,000 and directs ITT to cease and desist from future similar violations.

An investigation by the Department’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings disclosed that ITT’s website (http://www.ittworld.com/) and print brochures advertised numerous international air tour packages with prices that included roundtrip airfare, but that failed to detail the nature and amount of additional taxes and fees that were excluded from the advertised price. Furthermore, in ITT’s print brochures associated with its tour packages, ITT included a “Fine Print” disclaimer at the end of the brochure that denoted items not included in the price, such as taxes and fees, in a separate box. However, ITT failed to state the nature and amount of those taxes and fees. Additionally, in the fine print section in many of its brochures, ITT noted that the price did not “include fuel surcharges which may be imposed by airlines” and noted that it “reserves the right to add a surcharge if the dollar declines by more than 5% against the Euro based on foreign exchange rates in effect.” Accordingly, ITT’s 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://ittworld.com/



Icelandair Group

Order 2012-1-8
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84

Issued and Served January 18, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by Icelandair Group that violate the advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR 399.84, as well as 49 USC § 41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition. It directs Icelandair 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 the Fall 2011, Icelandair displayed an advertisement stating “Fares to Iceland and Europe starting from $429*.” An asterisk appeared following the fare without further elaboration. Nowhere on the website were the nature and amount of the additional taxes stated. Rather, once consumers clicked on the fare, they were then taken to Icelandair’s home page where consumers had to select a city and destination, which would then take the consumer to an additional page where tax and fee information was finally disclosed. Icelandair’s failure to provide proper notice of taxes and fees that may legally be stated separately from the fare violated 14 CFR 399.84 and 49 USC § 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

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

http://www.icelandairgroup.com/



Alitalia Compagnia Aerea Italiana SpA

Order 2012-1-15
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of Article 19 of the Montreal Convention and 49 USC 41712

Issued and Served Januaary 23, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order involves violations by Alitalia Compagnia Aerea Italiana SpA 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 delay of checked baggage on Alitalia flights to or from the United States. It directs Alitalia to cease and desist from future similar violations of Article 19 and section 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $80,000.

Based on a consumer complaint, the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings investigated Alitalia’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, Alitalia, through language used in letters responding to baggage delay claims, was limiting reimbursement to between $50 and $75 per day of delay regardless of the amount of the expenses claimed by passengers or the submission of original receipts documenting such expenses. The practical effect of this practice was to limit Alitalia’s liability for damage occasioned by the delay of baggage to less than the minimum 1,131 SDRs for each passenger as required by the Convention.

By: Rosalind Knapp

DOT Fines Alitalia for Violating International Baggage Liability Rules - DOT Press Release

http://www.alitalia.com/



Asiana Airlines

Order 2012-1-14
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84

Issued and Served Januaary 23, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns an Internet advertisement by Asiana Airlines that violates the full-fare advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR 399.84, as well as 49 USC § 41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices. It directs Asiana to cease and desist from future violations of section 399.84 and section 41712 and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $70,000.

For a period of time in the Fall 2011, Asiana’s website, displayed advertisements stating “Los Angeles…Ho Chi Minh City From $517,” “Beijing From $498,” “Manila From $517,” “Shanghai From $489,” and “Phnom Penh From $556.” Below these fares was a link stating “Additional taxes, fees, and other restrictions may apply,” which took the consumer to a landing page that stated, “Special Fares,” with a description of applicable taxes and fees in the fine print at the bottom of the page, which was on a different screen. Thus, consumers were not notified of the additional taxes and fees applicable to the advertised “Los Angeles” sale fares, including a carrier-imposed fuel-surcharge, until after they arrived at the landing page and only if they scrolled down to the bottom of the next screen. Asiana’s failure to provide proper notice of taxes and fees that may legally be stated separately from the base fare and its failure to include all carrier-imposed charges in the advertised base fares violate 14 CFR 399.84 and 49 USC § 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

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

http://us.flyasiana.com/



Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT S.A.

Order 2012-1-13
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84

Issued and Served Januaary 23, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT that violate the advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR 399.84, as well as 49 USC § 41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition. It directs LOT to cease and desist from future violations of section 399.84 and section 41712 and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $60,000.

For a period of time in the fall of 2011, LOT displayed advertisements on its website that did not provide any 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 on a separate screen reached only after scrolling to the bottom of the page, which explained the nature and amounts of additional taxes and fees. LOT’s failure to provide proper notice of taxes and fees that may legally be stated separately from the fare violated 14 CFR 399.84 and 49 USC § 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

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

http://www.lot.com/



Aviation Services, Ltd. d/b/a Freedom Air

Order 2012-1-22
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 U.S.C. § 41712

Issued and Served January 27, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet sales activities by Aviation Services, Ltd., d/b/a Freedom Air that violated 49 USC § 41712 because they resulted in double payments by consumers of government taxes and fees. It directs Freedom Air to cease and desist from further violations of this statute and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $20,000.

For a period of time during 2011, Freedom Air employed a search engine on its website that returned air fare quotes that included all taxes and fees. Upon selecting a fare, consumers were taken to a second landing page that informed them of the applicability of additional taxes and/or fees, specifically passenger facility charges. As a result, customers using Freedom Air’s search engine to purchase air travel were double-charged for the same PFC. By twice charging customers for a single PFC, Freedom Air committed an unfair and deceptive practice in violation of 49 USC § 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

Will the Government Hide More Taxes and Fees in Airfare? - Wall St. Cheat Sheet, January 27, 2012

http://www.freedomairguam.com/


 


Finnair Plc

Order 2012-1-21
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84

Issued and Served January 27, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by Finnair Plc 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 Finnair to cease and desist from further violations of this statute and federal regulation and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $35,000.

From September 15, 2011 to October 25, 2011, Finnair displayed three fare advertisements on its website that made no mention of additional taxes and fees that were applicable to these fares. Rather, once consumers clicked on the advertisements, they were taken to a landing page on Finnair’s website where applicable taxes and fees were displayed in the fine print at the bottom of the page. In one of the three advertisements, consumers could not see the fine print unless they happened to scroll 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 when the fares first were advertised, Finnair violated section 399.84 and 49 USC § 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

Will the Government Hide More Taxes and Fees in Airfare? - Wall St. Cheat Sheet, January 27, 2012

DOT Fines Finnair for Violating Price Advertising Rules - DOT Press Release - January 27, 2012

http://www.finnair.com/


 


Spirit Airlines, Inc.

Order 2012-1-20
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 14 CFR Part 382 and 49 USC §§ 41310, 41702, 41705 and 41712

Issued and Served January 27, 2012

Consent Order

This order concerns violations by Spirit Airlines, Inc. of the requirements of 14 CFR Part 382 with respect to properly coding and recording its disability-related complaints in connection with required reporting to the Department of Transportation as well as providing 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 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. This order directs Spirit to cease and desist from future similar violations and assesses the carrier $100,000 in civil penalties.

In May 2010, staff of the Department’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings conducted an on-site regulatory compliance inspection at Spirit’s corporate headquarters in Miramar, Florida. During this inspection, the Enforcement Office reviewed disability-related complaints received by Spirit in calendar year 2009. Subsequent to the compliance inspection the Enforcement Office requested additional disability-related complaints received by Spirit in calendar year 2010.

The review disclosed that Spirit violated section 382.157 by failing to adequately categorize and account for all the disability-related issues that were raised in complaints received during 2009, in its report submitted to the Department in January 2010. In 2009, Spirit reported 55 disability-related complaints in its 2010 annual report to the Department. A review of those 55 complaints revealed disability-related issues that were under-coded and not counted in Spirit’s 2010 annual report to DOT. In addition, the Enforcement Office discovered that there were a large number of additional complaints that were not counted in the 2010 annual report.

Furthermore, Spirit violated section 382.155 by failing to provide dispositive responses to written disability-related complaints it received. The Enforcement Office discovered that Spirit failed to provide a dispositive response in a vast majority of the disability-related complaints it received in 2009 and 2010.

By: Rosalind Knapp

DOT Fines Spirit Airlines Over Handling of Disability Complaints - DOT Press Release - January 27, 2012

http://www.spiritair.com/


 

Allegiant Air, LLC

Order 2012-2-10
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 14 CFR Parts 382 and 399, and 49 USC 41705, 41702 and 41712

Issued and Served February 15, 2012

Consent Order

Many of the violations addressed in this order were uncovered during a February 2011 on-site regulatory compliance inspection at Allegiant’s headquarters conducted by staff of the Department’s Office of Aviation and Enforcement (Enforcement Office). This order directs Allegiant to cease and desist from future similar violations and assesses the carrier $100,000 in civil penalties.

For a period of time during December 2010, Allegiant advertised on its homepage a banner that stated, “Happy Holidays! Fly Free* to Vegas.” The advertisement further stated, “four-night minimum stay” and “click here for details!” The banner did not contain notice that taxes and fees were excluded from the advertised “free” fare. Although an asterisk appeared after the words “Fly Free,” there was no language regarding taxes and fees on the page on which the asterisk appeared, nor was there a hyperlink proximate to the words “Fly Free” that took consumers to a place on a separate screen where the full amount of taxes and fees were disclosed. Rather, once consumers clicked on the link in the advertisement, they were taken to a landing page where they could see the amount of taxes and fees upon scrolling to the bottom of the page. Thus, consumers were not notified of the existence and amount of taxes and fees applicable to the “free” fare until they arrived at the landing page and scrolled down. Allegiant’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 U.S.C. § 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

Order 2008-9-18 - Allegiant Air - Consent Order - Full-Fare Advertising

DOT Fines Allegiant Air for Violating DOT Airline Disability, Price Advertising Rules- DOT Press Release

http://www.allegiantair.com/


 

Twin Air Calypso Limited, Inc.

Order 2012-2-20
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC §§ 41101, 41712 and 41738, 14 CFR Part 298, and Order 2005-3-38

Issued and Served February 24, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns unauthorized scheduled passenger service as a commuter air carrier by Twin Air Calypso Limited, Inc. in violation of 49 USC §§ 41101, 41712 and 41738 and 14 CFR Part 298, the Department’s commuter air carrier requirements, as well as Order 2005-3-38. It directs TAC to cease and desist from further violations of these statutory provisions, federal regulation, and order, and it assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $70,000.

TAC is a Florida-based on-demand air carrier registered under 14 CFR Part 298. TAC advertises on-demand air carrier operations between Fort Lauderdale, Florida and points in the Caribbean. At all times relevant to this matter TAC did not hold a commuter air carrier authorization from the Department. For a period of time during 2011, TAC regularly operated more than four round-trips per week between FLL and Marsh Harbour and Treasure Cay in the Bahamas. Additionally, TAC held out a schedule for these flights to investigators who inquired via telephone and in-person at the airport. By holding out and operating these flights more than four times per week, a level of service that required it to be found fit as a commuter air carrier, TAC exceeded the scope of its exemption authority under 14 CFR Part 298, thereby also violating 49 USC §§ 41101, 41712 and 41738.

We are particularly concerned about these violations since TAC is a successor company to Twin Town Leasing Company d/b/a Twin Air, an on-demand carrier registered under 14 CFR Part 298. On March 28, 2005, Twin Air agreed to the issuance of Order 2005-3-38 for similar violations of 49 USC §§ 41101, 41712 and 41738, as well as 14 CFR Part 298, was assessed $20,000 in compromise civil penalties, and was ordered to cease and desist from similar violations in the future. At that time, Twin Air was holding out and operating six flights per week from FLL to North Eleuthera in the Bahamas, a level of service that required it to be found fit as a commuter carrier. The violations described above also constitute violations of Order 2005-3-38.

By: Rosalind Knapp

OST-2011-0143 - TwinAir Calypso - Commuter Air Carrier Authority - Fort Lauderdale-Bahamas

http://www.flytwinair.com/


 

Unister USA, LLC d/b/a Flights24.com

Order 2012-2-23
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR Parts 399 and 257

Issued and Served March 1, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by Unister USA, LLC, d/b/a Flights24.com that (1) failed to comply with the Department’s full-fare advertising requirements as specified in 14 CFR Part 399, and (2) failed to disclose codeshare arrangements pursuant to the requirements specified in 14 CFR Part 257 and 49 USC § 41712(c). These failures constitute separate and distinct unfair and deceptive practices prohibited by section 41712(a). This consent order directs Unister to cease and desist from future violations of Parts 399 and 257 and section 41712 and assesses Unister a compromise civil penalty of $30,000.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed a significant lack of compliance by Unister with the Department’s full-fare advertising rule. From at least July 2011 through October 2011, Unister failed to properly disclose to consumers that additional taxes and fees applied to fares advertised on its Internet website, Flights24.com. Specifically, at the first point at which fares were displayed on its website Unister failed to identify the existence and amount of additional taxes and fees, one of which was Unister’s service fee, which cannot lawfully be broken out from the base fare. Such conduct violated 14 CFR 399.84 and constituted a prohibited unfair and deceptive practice pursuant 49 USC § 41712(a).

Our investigation also revealed a lack of compliance by Unister with 49 USC § 41712(c) and section 257.5 of the Department’s codeshare disclosure rule. From at least July through September 2011, Unister 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. Unister’s failure to properly disclose the existence of codesharing arrangements and the names of the transporting carriers as required by Part 257 and section 41712(c) 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. Such conduct violated 49 USC § 41712(c) and Part 257 and constituted a separate and distinct a prohibited unfair and deceptive practice pursuant to 49 USC § 41712(a).

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.flights24.com/

DOT Fines Ticket Agent for Advertising, Codeshare Disclosure Violations - DOT Press Release


 

Qantas Airways Limited

Order 2012-3-1
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84

Issued and Served March 2, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns an Internet advertisement by Qantas Airways Limited that violates the advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR 399.84, as well as 49 USC § 41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices. It directs Qantas to cease and desist from future violations of section 399.84 and section 41712 and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $40,000.

For a period of time in the Fall of 2011, Qantas displayed on numerous websites fare advertisements that omitted taxes and fees but did not, as required for such ads, link to a web page that provided an immediate visible display of those taxes and fees. Rather, after clicking on the advertised fare, the consumer was taken to a landing page where the consumer had to scroll to the bottom of the page to view the nature and amounts of the additional taxes and fees. Qantas’ failure to provide proper notice of taxes and fees that could then be legally stated separately from the fare violated 14 CFR 399.84 and 49 USC § 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.qantas.com.au/

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


 

International Jet Management GmbH

Order 2012-3-18
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC §§ 41301, 41703 and 41712

Issued and Served March 29, 2012

Consent Order

This order concerns unauthorized passenger air service between points in the United States by International Jet Management GmbH, an Austrian 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 IJM to cease and desist from such further violations and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $25,000.

In the instant case, the charterer was traveling into and out of the United States and was onboard for all segments of the flight. IJM’s movement of the charterer did not constitute cabotage. However, during a flight segment between two points within the United States, IJM transported passengers who were not on the inbound or outbound segments. IJM’s movement of these passengers constituted cabotage because they were carried only between points in the United States on a flight operated by IJM for compensation.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.ijm.at/


 

Frontier Airlines, Inc.

Order 2012-4-15
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC §§ 41705 and 41712 and 14 CFR Part 382

Issued and Served April 13, 2012

Consent Order

This order concerns violations by Frontier Airlines, Inc. of the requirements of 14 CFR Part 382 the Department of Transportation’s regulation implementing the Air Carrier Access Act, 49 USC § 41705, with respect to its transportation of an individual with a disability. Violations of Part 382 also violate the ACAA, and violations of the ACAA and Part 382 also constitute an unfair and deceptive practice in violation of 49 USC § 41712. This order directs Frontier to cease and desist from future violations of Part 382 and the ACAA and assesses the carrier $50,000 in civil penalties.

After investigating the incident, the Enforcement Office determined that Frontier violated section 382.41(c) by failing to inform Mr. M, on at least three occasions, of the carrier’s limitations in accommodating his disability. In June 2009, Frontier allowed Mr. M to use the seat belt extender strapping method to secure his body in an upright position. Then, later that same month and again on June 17, 2011, Frontier’s crew permitted Mr. M to use this same method to secure himself despite this method not being approved by the FAA. As a result of Frontier’s accommodation of Mr. M’s disability on prior flights, particularly the outbound flight on June 17, 2011, Mr. M was unprepared with an alternative restraint method when, on June 19, 2011, Frontier disapproved the restraint method that he was allowed to use on previous flights, including his outbound flight, resulting in his embarrassment and eventual removal from flight 227.

Frontier also violated sections 382.93 and 382.95 by failing to provide pre-boarding and adequate enplaning assistance to Mr. M on June 19, 2011. Mr. M’s numerous requests to pre-board were unsuccessful, and Mr. M was forced to wait until virtually all of the other passengers had boarded. It appears that Frontier’s failure to pre-board Mr. M was a result of its wheelchair assistance vendor failing to respond to Frontier’s call for service. Pursuant to 14 CFR 382.15, Frontier is responsible for ensuring that its contractors providing services to the public meet the requirements of Part 382. Frontier was ultimately able to obtain two of its own disability-trained employees (one of whom was working at baggage handling that day) to assist Mr. M but that assistance, the Enforcement Office found, was inadequate as evidenced by the fact that individuals traveling with Mr. M had to be asked to participate in the lifting of Mr. M to ensure the safety of the transfer. Furthermore, by providing enplaning and deplaning assistance to Mr. M with malfunctioning aisle chairs, Frontier also violated section 382.95. The first aisle chair that Frontier used to enplane Mr. M had its left shoulder strap completely detached from the chair. The second aisle chair that Frontier used to deplane Mr. M also had multiple straps missing. Due to the lack of proper restraint on the chair, Mr. M fell onto another passenger and was subject to further embarrassment and endangerment.

By: Rosalind Knapp

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

http://www.frontierairlines.com/


 

Pilatus PC-12 Centre Canada, Inc.

Order 2012-4-16
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR Part 294

Issued and Served April 13, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns facilitation by Pilatus PC-12 Centre Canada, Inc. (formerly V. Kelner Pilatus Center, Inc.), a direct air carrier,1 of unlawful conduct by Private Air, Inc., an indirect air carrier, involving the marketing, sale, and operation of charter flights between Canada and the United States in which Private Air held itself out as the operator without having the requisite economic authority. By facilitating such conduct, PCC itself engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices and unfair methods of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712. This order also concerns the use by PCC of a name not listed on its Canadian air taxi registration, in violation of 14 CFR 294.31.3 Such conduct constitutes a separate violation of section 41712. This order directs PCC to cease and desist from further violations of these statutory provisions and to pay a compromise civil penalty of $20,000.

The Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings began an investigation of Private Air in response to information from the FAA that Private Air was conducting charter flights to the US from Canada using aircraft bearing Private Air’s livery. The investigation revealed that the aircraft in question was operated by PCC and that “Private Air” was not listed as a “doing-business-as” name on PCC’s Part 294 registration, in violation of 14 CFR 294.31. Upon further investigation, the Enforcement Office found that, from January 2009 until March 2010, PCC operated a significant number of trans-border flights for charterers who had entered into contracts with Private Air for charter service that identified Private Air as the direct air carrier operating the flights, notwithstanding the fact that Private Air lacked economic authority to engage in foreign air transportation. In so doing, PCC facilitated the unlawful conduct of Private Air and itself engaged in an unfair and deceptive practice and an unfair method of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.pilatus-aircraft.com/


 

Private Air, Inc.

Order 2012-4-17
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC §§ 41301 and 41712

Issued and Served April 13, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns unlawful conduct by Private Air, Inc. in which the company held itself out as a direct air carrier, when it was not, and engaged in foreign air transportation as an indirect air carrier without the economic authority to do so, in contravention of 49 USC § 41301. These violations also constituted unfair and deceptive trade practices and unfair methods of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712. This order directs Private Air to cease and desist from further violations of these statutory provisions and it assesses a compromise civil penalty of $25,000.

The Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings initiated an investigation of Private Air in response to information from the FAA indicating that Private Air had operated charter flights into the US from Canada on aircraft registered to PCC. The FAA’s records showed that neither PCC’s operations specifications nor its Part 294 registration listed “Private Air” as a “doing-business-as” name. Although PCC apparently was the actual aircraft operator on these occasions, the Enforcement Office subsequently learned that from January 2009 until March 2010, Private Air had entered as a principal into contracts with charterers for a significant number of trans-border flights between Canada and the US. In addition, the Enforcement Office found statements on Private Air’s printed brochures and on its web site, such as “Private Air operates the Pilatus PC-12 aircraft,” that could have misled readers into believing that Private Air was a direct air carrier operating aircraft when, in fact, it did not. By holding itself out as a direct air carrier when it was not and by engaging in foreign air transportation without economic authority, Private Air violated 49 USC §§ 41301 and 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.privatair.com/


 

Swift Jet, Inc.

Order 2012-4-24
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC §§ 41301 and 41712 and 14 CFR 212.9(b)(1)

Issued and Approved April 19, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by Swift Jet, Inc. of 14 CFR 212.9(b), the Department’s prior authorization requirement rule for foreign air carriers. It directs Swift Jet to cease and desist from future violations of those provisions and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $10,000.

Swift Jet is a foreign air carrier that holds a Canadian charter air taxi registration pursuant to 14 CFR Part 294. This registration does not authorize Swift Jet to conduct fifth-freedom charters to or from the United States. Rather, Swift Jet, and all other similarly situated foreign air carriers, must obtain a “statement of authorization” under 14 CFR 212.9(b)(1) prior to performing a fifth-freedom charter. Notwithstanding this requirement, in January 2012, Swift Jet conducted a fifth-freedom charter flight, from Anguilla in the Caribbean to Wilmington, DE to White Plains, NY without having been granted a statement of authorization covering this operation.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.swiftjet.com/


 

Atlantic Southeast Airlines, Inc.

Order 2012-5-2
OST-2012-0002 - Compliance with 49 USC §§ 40127(a), 41702, 41310 and 41712

Issued and Served May 2, 2012

Consent Order

This order concerns violations by Atlantic Southeast Airlines, 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 Atlantic Southeast to cease and desist from future violations and assesses the carrier $25,000 in civil penalties.

The Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings investigated Atlantic Southeast Airline’s compliance with the above-cited statutory prohibitions following allegations that two religious leaders (Imams) were removed and denied re-boarding on flight 5452, operated as a Delta Connection flight by Atlantic Southeast, at the Memphis International Airport on May 6, 2011, because their previous removal from the aircraft by Delta security officials and the search of the passengers’ seating areas by law enforcement officials resulted in passenger concern and unrest. While the Enforcement Office finds that the initial decision to remove the Imams from Atlantic Southeast flight 5452 to conduct secondary screening was not discriminatory, the evidence in the Enforcement Office’s view disclosed that Atlantic Southeast violated the law when it failed to re-board the passengers on flight 5452 after law enforcement officials and its mainline carrier partner’s security officials determined that they were not a security threat and cleared them for travel. 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 unless a valid safety or security concern exists. The Enforcement Office believes that the removed individuals should have been re-boarded in this case.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://flyasa.com/



Air India, Limited

Order 2012-5-4
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 259.6 and 399.85(d)

Issued and Served May 3, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by Air India, Limited of 14 CFR Parts 259 and 399 and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition, 49 USC § 41712. It directs Air India to cease and desist from future violations of those regulations and section 41712 and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $80,000.

Air India is a foreign air carrier holding economic authority pursuant to 49 USC § 41301 that operates scheduled passenger service to and from the United States using aircraft with a design capacity of 30 or more passenger seats. The carrier also has a website marketed to US consumers. As such, Air India is a covered carrier subject to the requirements of 14 CFR Part 259 pertaining to the posting of tarmac delay contingency and customer service plans, and it is also subject to the optional fee notice requirement of 14 CFR 399.85(d). Nevertheless, Air India failed to post its tarmac delay contingency and customer service plans on its website by August 23, 2011, as required. Additionally, Air India failed to place by August 23, 2011, a clear and conspicuous hyperlink on its website homepage that directly links to a page or a place on a page where all optional services and related fees are disclosed.

By: Rosalind Knapp

Air India Fined for Violation of New Airline Consumer Rule - DOT Press Release - May 3, 2012

http://www.airindia.in/


People Express Airlines, Inc.

Order 2012-5-7
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC § 41101 and 14 CFR 201.5(a)

Issued and Served May 9, 2012

Consent Order

This order concerns the offer and sale of memberships by People Express Airlines, Inc. in its “Club Travelati” in violation of 49 USC § 41101 and 14 CFR 201.5(a). It directs People Express to cease and desist from future violations of these provisions and assesses People Express a compromise civil penalty of $10,000.

People Express is a Virginia-based corporation. It does not hold economic authority from the Department to engage in air transportation. On March 19, 2012, People Express applied for authority to engage in interstate scheduled passenger air transportation. Its application is currently pending with the Department. Between February 13 and March 27, 2012, People Express advertised on its Internet website memberships in its “Club Travelati” by offering prospective members, among other things, the opportunity to receive after scheduled service began “ULTRA-LOW discount offers” and discount certificates to be used towards their first “PEOPLExpress™ ticket for any scheduled flight or fare.” As a result, People Express sold more than 130 memberships through its website. By advertising and selling club memberships offering future discounts before it received effective economic authority for that service, People Express violated 49 USC § 41101 and 14 CFR 201.5.

By: Rosalind Knapp

OST-2012-0042 - People Express Airlines - Interstate Scheduled Passenger Certificate

http://www.flypex.com/


Virgin America, Inc.

Order 2012-5-22
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 14 CFR Part 382 and 49 USC §§ 41310, 41702, 41705 and 41712

Issued and Served May 24, 2012

Consent Order

This order concerns violations by Virgin America Inc. of the requirements of 14 CFR Part 382 with respect to properly coding and recording its disability-related complaints in connection with required reporting to the Department of Transportation as well as providing 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 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. This order directs Virgin America to cease and desist from future similar violations and assesses the carrier $100,000 in civil penalties.

In July 2011, staff of the Department’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings conducted an on-site regulatory compliance inspection at Virgin America’s corporate headquarters in Burlingame, California. During this inspection, the Enforcement Office reviewed all disability-related complaints received by Virgin America from 2009 through June 2011.

The Enforcement Office found that in numerous instances, Virgin America failed to provide a dispositive written response to a written complaint alleging a violation of Part 382, and thereby failed to comply with the requirements of section 382.155. In addition, Virgin America violated section 382.157 by failing to properly categorize and account for all the disability-related issues that were raised in the complaints received during the calendar years 2008 and 2009. As a result, a number of complaints were missing from Virgin America’s annual reports submitted to the Department in 2009 and 2010.

By: Rosalind Knapp

DOT Fines Virgin America for Incomplete Disability Complaint Reports, Not Properly Responding to Complaints - DOT Press Release

http://www.virginamerica.com/


Concesionaria Vuela Compania de Aviacion, S.A.P.I. de C.V. d/b/a Volaris

Order 2012-6-15
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 14 CFR 399.85(b) and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served June 21, 2012

Consent Order

This order concerns violations by Concesionaria Vuela Compania de Aviacion, S.A.P.I. de C.V., (Volaris) of 14 CFR 399.85(b) and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712. It directs Volaris to cease and desist from future similar violations and assesses the carrier $130,000 in civil penalties.

As a foreign air carrier, Volaris is subject to the prohibition on engaging in unfair and deceptive practices set forth in 49 USC § 41712 and to the baggage fee disclosure requirements of 14 CFR 399.85(b). Volaris failed to meet the requirements of section 399.85(b) by advertising fares on its website without providing a link to potentially applicable baggage fees on the first screen on which a fare quotation appeared. For a period of time beginning January 24, 2012, the effective date of this provision, in response to consumer searches using the main booking path on its website, Volaris displayed a fare matrix that separately listed the fares, including taxes and fees, for outbound and inbound legs. On this screen, however, Volaris failed to inform consumers that additional baggage fees may apply, thereby violating 14 CFR 399.85(b), as well as 49 USC § 41712.

By: Rosalind Knapp

Volaris Fined for Failing to Disclose Baggage Fees - DOT Press Release - June 22, 2012

http://www.volaris.mx/


 

Bahamasair Holdings Limited

Order 2012-7-1
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 221.107(d) and Part 374

Issued and Served July 3, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by Bahamasair Holdings Limited of the Department-enforced laws relating to refund requests involving airline tickets and providing notice of liability limits on flights covered by the Montreal Convention. It directs Bahamasair to cease and desist from future similar violations and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $70,000.

Based on a consumer complaint alleging a significant delay in processing a refund by Bahamasair, the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings conducted an investigation of Bahamasair’s refund practices and found that in a significant number of cases, Bahamasair failed to forward a credit to the credit card company within seven business days after receiving a complete refund application. Additionally, the Enforcement Office found that Bahamasair charged a processing fee for refunds without providing consumers with conspicuous written notice of those fees on or with the tickets, as required.

Notwithstanding this notice, Bahamasair failed to revise its contract of carriage to reflect the increased baggage liability limit. Rather, the carrier continued to state that the minimum liability limit for lost, damaged, and delayed baggage was 1000 SDR for a lengthy period of time.

By: Rosalind Knapp

http://www.bahamasair.com/


 

Vision Airlines, Inc.

Order 2012-7-13
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 14 CFR 382 and 399 and 49 USC §§ 41705 and 41712

Issued and Served July 12, 2012

Consent Order

This order concerns violations by Vision Airlines, Inc. of the Department’s full-fare advertising rule, 14 CFR 399.84, as well as 49 USC § 41712, which prohibits carriers from engaging in unfair and deceptive practices. It also covers violations by Vision of 14 CFR Part 382 and 49 USC § 41705 with respect to the carrier’s failure to timely and accurately file annual reports detailing disability-related complaints received by the carrier. The order directs Vision to cease and desist from future violations of Parts 382 and 399 and sections 41705 and 41712 and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $75,000.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed that Vision advertised air fares that were followed by asterisks that referred consumers to a general statement below each fare alerting consumers, without further elaboration, that the fares “exclude[ed] taxes and fees,” but gave no information as to the nature or amount of those taxes and fees. Consumers were then required to input a proposed itinerary on Vision’s website to determine the associated taxes and fees for the fares advertised on its homepage. Accordingly, Vision’s 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: Samuel Podberesky

http://visionairlines.com/


 

Trip Advisor, LLC

Order 2012-7-16
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 257.5 and 399.84(a)

Issued and Served July 13, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by Trip Advisor, LLC, d/b/a TripAdvisor that (1) failed to comply with the Department’s full-fare advertising requirements as specified in 14 CFR Part 399, and (2) failed to disclose codeshare arrangements pursuant to the requirements specified in 14 CFR Part 257 and 49 USC § 41712(c). These failures constitute separate and distinct unfair and deceptive practices prohibited by section 41712(a). This consent order directs TripAdvisor to cease and desist from future violations of Parts 399 and 257 and section 41712 and assesses TripAdvisor a compromise civil penalty of $80,000.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed a lack of compliance by TripAdvisor with the Department’s full-fare advertising rule. From at least March 2012 through June 2012, TripAdvisor on its Internet website failed to display total fares more prominently than base fares, which excluded taxes and fees. Specifically, after consumers entered specific itineraries, Trip Advisor returned lists of flights in which the base fares were displayed in front of and in the same font size as the total fares.

The investigation also revealed a significant lack of compliance by TripAdvisor with section 257.5 of the Department’s code-share disclosure rule and 49 USC § 41712(c). From at least March through June 2012, TripAdvisor 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. Specifically, TripAdvisor 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. As a result consumers were obliged to rely on a hover text feature to learn the identity of the airline that would actually operate the aircraft on which they would be flying.

By: Samuel Podberesky

DOT Fines TripAdvisor for Violating DOT Price Advertising, Codeshare Rules - DOT Press Release

http://www.tripadvisor.com/


 

Caribbean Sun Airlines d/b/a World Atlantic Airlines

Order 2012-7-31
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR Parts 212 and 380

Issued and Served July 27, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations of certain consumer protection provisions of the Department of Transportation’s Public Charter regulations by Caribbean Sun Airlines d/b/a World Atlantic Airlines, a direct air carrier for a number of Public Charter programs filed by Southern Sky Air & Tours d/b/a Myrtle Beach Direct Air & Tours. In violation of 14 CFR Parts 212 and 380, World Atlantic operated numerous Public Charter flights on behalf of Direct Air without first receiving the full charter price for those flights, thereby operating on the basis of a prospective payment or credit and it failed to make reasonable efforts to ascertain before undertaking Public Charter flights that the charter operator was in compliance with 14 CFR Part 380. In addition, subsequent to the cessation of Direct Air’s operations and in violation of 14 CFR Parts 212 and 380, World Atlantic cancelled charter flights less than ten days before the scheduled departure date and failed to return to their points of origin all passengers who purchased round-trip transportation on World Atlantic’s operated Public Charter flights and whom World Atlantic had already transported on their outbound flights. These activities constituted unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712. This order directs World Atlantic to cease and desist from future violations of section 41712 and the aforementioned Federal regulations and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $180,000.

World Atlantic was the direct air carrier in the Public Charter program covered by Public Charter Prospectus 12-036, which involved 190 flights on a variety of routes between cities in the Midwest and Northeast and points in Florida and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for the period from February 13, 2012, to April 30, 2012. The Public Charter operator was Southern Sky Air & Tours, d/b/a Myrtle Beach Direct Air & Tours.

Beginning with all flights departing on or after March 6, 2012, sufficient funds were not transferred from Direct Air’s escrow account to World Atlantic prior to the operation of the pertinent flights. Several flights prior to March 6, 2012, also involved late payments. World Atlantic thus had early notice that Direct Air was not complying with the Department’s Public Charter regulations. With such late payments, pursuant to 14 CFR 212.3(d) and 380.40, World Atlantic should have undertaken reasonable efforts to verify that Direct Air was operating in compliance with Part 380. Rather, World Atlantic suffered Direct Air’s conduct and, in violation of 14 CFR 212.3(e) and 380.11, continued to operate flights listed in Public Charter Prospectus 12-036 without requiring from Direct Air payment in full of the total charter price. By March 13, 2012, Direct Air owed $125,072 to World Atlantic for flights World Atlantic had completed on Direct Air’s behalf.

On March 13, 2012, World Atlantic ceased all flights under the Public Charter program. The Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings immediately contacted World Atlantic about this matter. The Enforcement Office reminded World Atlantic of the carrier’s obligations under 14 CFR 380.43 to not cancel charter flights less than ten days before the scheduled departure date and under 14 CFR 212.3(f) to return all passengers who had purchased round-trip transportation and whom it carried on their outbound journeys. Nevertheless, World Atlantic failed to ensure the return of stranded passengers

By: Samuel Podberesky

DOT Fines World Atlantic Airlines for Charter Violations Related to Direct Air's Shutdown - DOT Press Release

http://www.flywaa.com/


 

Pacific For Less, Inc.

Order 2012-8-2
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84(a)

Issued and Served August 2, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by Pacific For Less, Inc. that failed to comply with the Department’s full-fare advertising rule, 14 CFR 399.84(a), and constitute an unfair and deceptive practice prohibited by 49 USC § 41712. It directs Pacific to cease and desist from future violations of Part 399 and section 41712 and assesses Pacific a compromise civil penalty of $20,000.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed a lack of compliance by Pacific with the Department’s full-fare advertising rule. A review of Pacific’s website showed that, for a period of time after January 2012, the company advertised prices for tour packages with an air component that did not include the entire price to be paid by the consumer and, therefore, failed to meet the requirements of 14 CFR 399.84(a). More specifically, the advertised prices of tour packages were followed by an asterisk that referred consumers to a statement at the bottom of the page that indicated that taxes and fees were additional. Such conduct also constitutes an unfair and deceptive practice prohibited under 49 USC § 41712.

By: Samuel Podberesky

DOT Fines Three Companies for Violating DOT Airline Consumer Protection Rules - DOT Press Release

http://www.pacific-for-less.com/


Philippine Airlines, Inc.

Order 2012-8-3
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 14 CFR 399.84(a) and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served August 2, 2012

Consent Order

This order concerns violations by Philippine Airlines, Inc. of 14 CFR 399.84(a), and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712. It directs Philippine Airlines to cease and desist from future similar violations and assesses the carrier $80,000 in civil penalties.

As a foreign air carrier, Philippine Airlines is subject to the prohibition on engaging in unfair and deceptive practices set forth in 49 USC § 41712 and to the advertising requirements of 14 CFR 399.84(a). Philippine Airlines failed to meet the requirements of section 399.84(a) by advertising fares that did not include taxes and fees on its website. For a period of time after January 26, 2012, in response to consumer searches using the main booking path on its website, Philippine Airlines displayed a fare matrix that separately listed the base fares for outbound and inbound legs. These base fares, however, did not include the amount of additional government taxes and fees. Although the total fare to be charged, including taxes and fees, was ultimately disclosed at the bottom of the page, by failing to advertise fares as the entire price to be paid by the consumer when it first was stated, Philippine Airlines violated 14 CFR 399.84(a) as well as 49 USC § 41712.

By: Samuel Podberesky

DOT Fines Three Companies for Violating DOT Airline Consumer Protection Rules - DOT Press Release

http://www.philippineairlines.com/


Santa Barbara Airlines

Order 2012-8-4
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 14 CFR 399.85(b) and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served August 2, 2012

Consent Order

This order concerns violations by Santa Barbara Airlines of 14 CFR 399.85(b) and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712. It directs Santa Barbara to cease and desist from future similar violations and assesses the carrier $80,000 in civil penalties.

As a foreign air carrier, Santa Barbara is subject to the prohibition on engaging in unfair and deceptive practices set forth in 49 USC § 41712 and to the baggage fee disclosure requirements of 14 CFR 399.85(b). For a period of time beginning January 24, 2012, the effective date of this provision, Santa Barbara failed to meet the requirements of section 399.85(b) by failing to disclose on the first screen in which it offers a fare quotation for a specific itinerary that additional airline fees for baggage may apply and where consumers can see those fees. By violating section 399.85(b), Santa Barbara also violated 49 USC § 41712.

By: Samuel Podberesky

DOT Fines Three Companies for Violating DOT Airline Consumer Protection Rules - DOT Press Release

http://www.santabarbaraairlines.com/

 


 

jetBlue Airways Corporation

Order 2012-8-25
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 14 CFR Part 259 and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served August 20, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations of 14 CFR Part 259 and 49 USC § 41712 involving the failure by jetBlue Airways Corporation as required to inform passengers on a flight delayed at the gate for a lengthy period of time of the opportunity to deplane. Moreover, jetBlue failed to include certain required assurances in its contingency plan for lengthy tarmac delays. This order directs jetBlue to cease and desist from future similar violations of Part 259 and section 41712 and assesses the carrier $90,000 in civil penalties.

jetBlue is an air carrier as defined by 49 USC § 40102(a)(2)2 that operates scheduled service at JFK International Airport and many other a large hub airports, using aircraft having a design capacity of more than 30 passenger seats. jetBlue operated flight 645 from JFK to San Francisco International Airport on March 3, 2012. Flight 645 was scheduled to depart JFK at 7:30 p.m. and arrive at SFO at 11:16 p.m. local time. Boarding began at 7:06 p.m., however, because of a mechanical issue and then circumstances surrounding accommodating military personnel, the flight was delayed and the doors to the aircraft did not close until 9:55 p.m. A passenger on board flight 645 filed a consumer complaint with the Department’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division and alleged that passengers were not notified that they had the opportunity to deplane the aircraft during this delay.

In response to an investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings, jetBlue admits that the Captain of flight 645 confirmed that deplaning announcements were not made during the delay in question. However, jetBlue states that although the option to deplane was not announced, the aircraft door was open throughout this delay and customers could have deplaned at any time.

Section 259.4(b)(6) requires that carriers announce that passengers have the opportunity to deplane from an aircraft when the flight is delayed and the aircraft is at a gate or another disembarkation area with the door open. A tarmac delay begins when passengers no longer have the option to get off an aircraft, which usually occurs when the doors of the aircraft are closed. Section 259.4(b)(6) was promulgated to address the issue of when a tarmac delay has not yet begun, because the doors remain open at a gate or another disembarkation area, and yet passengers are unaware that the door to the aircraft is open and that they have the option to deplane, particularly during a departure delay at the gate or on an aircraft where passenger would not know that the door was open and deplaning was an option. Carriers are not required to provide passengers the opportunity to deplane in less than three hours but if that opportunity does exists the rule requires that the carrier simply inform them that the opportunity to deplane exists. The Department has encouraged carriers to also remind passengers that they are deplaning at their own risk and that the flight could depart at any time without them if that is in fact the case.

In sum, section 259.4(b)(6) is in place to address the precise incident that occurred on flight 645. Beginning thirty minutes after the scheduled departure time of 7:30 p.m. and every thirty minutes thereafter until the doors closed jetBlue was required to notify passengers that they could deplane the aircraft if they wished to do so. The failure by jetBlue to make the proper notifications is a violation of 14 CFR 259.4(b)(6) as well as 49 USC § 41712.

In addition, as part of the investigation into this incident, a review of jetBlue’s contingency plan for lengthy tarmac delays, posted on its website, revealed that absent from the contents of its plan are the required assurances specified in section 259.4(b)(5)-(7). Pursuant to section 259.4(b)(5), a carrier must provide an assurance that passengers on the delayed flight will receive notifications regarding the status of the delay every 30 minutes while the aircraft is delayed, including the reasons for the tarmac delay, if known. The provisions of section 259.4(b)(6) are the subject of this enforcement order and section 259.4(b)(7) requires the assurance of sufficient resources to implement the plan. The failure by jetBlue to adopt all of the required assurances specified in 259.4(b)(1)-(10) in its contingency plan for lengthy tarmac delays is a violation of 14 CFR 259.4(b) and 49 USC § 41712.

By: Samuel Podberesky

US DOT Fines jetBlue for Not Informing Passengers of Opportunity to Leave Aircraft During Delay at Gate - DOT Press Release

http://www.jetblue.com/


 

Orbitz Worldwide, LLC

Order 2012-8-24
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 14 CFR 399.85(b) and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served August 20, 2012

Consent Order

This order concerns violations by Orbitz Worldwide, LLC of the Department’s rule requiring baggage fee disclosure, 14 CFR 399.85(b), and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition, 49 USC § 41712. It directs Orbitz, a ticket agent, to cease and desist from future similar violations of the baggage fee disclosure requirement of 14 CFR 399.85(b) and assesses the company $50,000 in civil penalties.

As a ticket agent, Orbitz is subject to the baggage fee disclosure requirements of 14 CFR 399.85(b). However, for a short period of time after January 24, 2012, although Orbitz’ website disclosed on the first webpage in which it offered fare quotations for specific itineraries that additional fees for baggage may apply and where consumers could see those fees, the location of the disclosure may have required a user to scroll to the bottom of the first webpage and therefore, was not clear and prominent as required by section 399.85(b) and 49 USC § 41712.

By: Samuel Podberesky

Orbitz Fined for Failing to Disclose Baggage Fees Properly - DOT Press Release

http://www.orbitz.com


 

Compagnie Nationale Royal Air Maroc

Order 2012-8-27
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 14 CFR 399.85(b) and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served August 21, 2012

Consent Order

This order concerns violations by Compagnie Nationale Royal Air Maroc of 14 CFR 399.85(b), and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712. It directs Royal Air Maroc to cease and desist from future similar violations and assesses the carrier $60,000 in civil penalties.

As a foreign air carrier, Royal Air Maroc is subject to the prohibition on engaging in unfair and deceptive practices set forth in 49 USC § 41712 and to the baggage fee disclosure requirements of 14 CFR 399.85(b). Royal Air Maroc failed to meet the requirements of section 399.85(b) by not clearly and prominently disclosing on the first screen in which it offers a fare quotation for a specific itinerary selected by a consumer that additional airline fees for baggage may apply and where consumers could go to see these baggage fees. For a period of time after January 24, 2012, in response to consumer searches using the main booking path on its website, Royal Air Maroc displayed a fare matrix for outbound and inbound legs. Appearing at the top of the page was a typical menu bar with, among six other items, the menu option, “Baggage and service fees.” Although this menu option linked to Royal Air Maroc’s baggage fee policies, its placement at the top of the page, and apart from the fare matrix, did not make it clear whether additional baggage fees might apply to the fares displayed and therefore was not sufficient to comply with the requirement of the rule.

By: Samuel Podberesky

DOT Fines Three Airlines for Violating Airline Consumer Protection Rules - DOT Press Release

http://www.royalairmaroc.com/


 

EgyptAir Airlines Company

Order 2012-8-26
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 14 CFR 399.85(b) and 259.5(b)(4) and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served August 21, 2012

Consent Order

This order concerns violations by EgyptAir Airlines Company of 14 CFR 399.85(b) and 259.5(b)(4), and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712. It directs EgyptAir to cease and desist from future similar violations and assesses the carrier $60,000 in civil penalties.

As a foreign air carrier, EgyptAir is subject to the prohibition on engaging in unfair and deceptive practices set forth in 49 U.S.C. § 41712 and to the baggage fee disclosure requirements of 14 CFR 399.85(b). EgyptAir failed to meet the requirements of section 399.85(b) by not disclosing on the first screen in which it offers a fare quotation for a specific itinerary selected by a consumer that additional airline fees for baggage may apply and where consumers can go to see these baggage fees. For a period of time after January 24, 2012, in response to consumer searches using the main booking path on its website, EgyptAir displayed a fare matrix for outbound and inbound legs. Additionally, the following text appeared directly above the fare matrix, “Please refer to our baggage overview pages for more detailed information on EGYPTAIR’s baggage policy.” Although the sentence also included a link to EgyptAir’s baggage policy, it is unclear from the text alone whether additional baggage fees may apply to the fares displayed. The notification that additional baggage fees may apply must be clear.

As a covered carrier, EgyptAir is also required to adopt and follow a customer service plan applicable to its scheduled flights. For a period of time after January 24, 2012, EgyptAir failed to include a commitment in its customer service plan allowing reservations to be held at the quoted fare without payment, or canceled without penalty, for at least twenty-four hours after the reservation is made if the reservation is made one week or more prior to a flight’s departure. EgyptAir’s failure to include this commitment in the contents of its plan violated 14 CFR 259.5(b)(4) and 49 USC § 41712.

By: Samuel Podberesky

DOT Fines Three Airlines for Violating Airline Consumer Protection Rules - DOT Press Release

http://www.egyptair.com/


 

Royal Jordanian Airlines

Order 2012-8-28
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 14 CFR 399.84(a), 399.85(b), and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served August 21, 2012

Consent Order

This order concerns violations by Royal Jordanian Airlines of 14 CFR 399.84(a) and 399.85(b) and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition, 49 USC § 41712, stemming from its failure to comply with the Department’s rules requiring full price advertising and baggage fee disclosure. It directs Royal Jordanian to cease and desist from future similar violations and assesses the carrier $70,000 in civil penalties.

As a foreign air carrier, Royal Jordanian is subject to the prohibition on engaging in unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition set forth in 49 USC § 41712 and to the advertising requirements of 14 CFR 399.84(a). Royal Jordanian failed to meet the requirements of section 399.84(a) by advertising fares that did not include taxes and fees on its website. For a period of time between January 26, 2012, and late February, 2012, in response to consumer searches using the main booking path on its website, Royal Jordanian displayed a fare matrix that separately listed fares for outbound and inbound legs that failed to include the amount of additional government taxes and fees. By failing to advertise the entire price to be paid by the consumer when fares were first stated, Royal Jordanian violated 14 CFR 399.84(a), as well as 49 USC § 41712.

As a foreign air carrier, Royal Jordanian is also subject to the baggage fee disclosure requirements of 14 CFR 399.85(b). For a period of time from at least April 11, 2012, Royal Jordanian’s website failed to meet the requirements of section 399.85(b) by failing to disclose on the first screen in which it offers a fare quotation for a specific itinerary that additional airline fees for baggage may apply and where consumers could see those fees. By violating section 399.85(b), Royal Jordanian also violated 49 USC § 41712.

By: Samuel Podberesky

DOT Fines Three Airlines for Violating Airline Consumer Protection Rules - DOT Press Release

http://www.rj.com


 

Aerolineas Argentinas S.A

Order 2012-8-33
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 14 CFR 399.84(a) and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served August 29, 2012

Consent Order

This order concerns violations by Aerolineas Argentinas S.A. of 14 CFR 399.84(a) and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712. It directs Aerolineas to cease and desist from future similar violations and assesses the carrier $50,000 in civil penalties.

As a foreign air carrier, Aerolineas is subject to the prohibition on engaging in unfair and deceptive practices set forth in 49 USC § 41712 and to the advertising requirements of 14 CFR 399.84(a). For a period of time after January 26, 2012, in response to consumer searches using the main booking path on its website, Aerolineas displayed fare matrices that separately listed base fares for outbound and inbound legs. These base fares, however, did not include the amount of additional government taxes and fees, as required.

By: Samuel Podberesky

DOT Fines Aerolineas Argentinas for Violating Price Advertising Rule - DOT Press Release

http://www.aerolineas.com.ar/



Travel Today, Inc.

Order 2012-8-34
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 14 CFR 399.84 and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served August 30, 2012

Consent Order

This order concerns advertisements by Travel Today, Inc., that violated the advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR 399.84 and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition, 49 USC § 41712. It directs Travel Today to cease and desist from future similar violations and assesses the ticket agent a compromise civil penalty of $10,000.

Travel Today failed to meet the requirements of section 399.84 by advertising fares that did not include taxes and fees in its print advertisements and on its website. Specifically, in the fall of 2011, in Express India, Travel Today advertised fares from Washington, DC, to India that impermissibly separated a carrier-imposed fuel surcharge from those fares, identifying it, as well as certain taxes that were also excluded, simply as being “extra.”

In addition, for a period of time after January 26, 2012, Travel Today’s website failed to comply with the Department’s current full-fare advertising rule. The “special offers” section of Travel Today’s website advertised fares that did not include additional taxes and fees. Furthermore, for a longer period of time after January 26, 2012, in response to consumer searches using the main booking path on its website, Travel Today displayed a fare matrix that did not include all taxes.

By: Samuel Podberesky


 

JSC Aeroflot

Order 2012-9-1
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 14 CFR 259.5(b)(4) and 399.84(a), and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served September 4, 2012

Consent Order

This order concerns violations by JSC Aeroflot of 14 CPR 259.5(b)(4) and 399.84(a) and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712. It directs Aeroflot to cease and desist from future similar violations and assesses the carrier $60,000 in civil penalties.

As a foreign air carrier, Aeroflot is subject to the prohibition on engaging in unfair and deceptive practices set forth in 49 USC § 41712 and to the advertising requirements of 14 CFR 399.84(a). Aeroflot failed to meet the requirements of section 399.84(a) by advertising fares that did not include taxes and fees on its website. For a period of time after January 26, 2012, in response to consumer searches using the main booking path on its website, Aeroflot displayed a fare matrix that separately listed the base fares for outbound and inbound legs. These base fares, however, did not include the amount of additional government taxes and fees. Although the total fare to be charged, including taxes and fees, was ultimately disclosed at the bottom of the page, by failing to advertise fares as the entire price to be paid by the consumer when they were first stated, Aeroflot violated 14 CFR 399.8Ma) as well as 49 USC § 41712.

As a covered carrier, Aeroflot is required to adopt and follow a customer service plan applicable to its scheduled flights. From January 24, 2012, through the week of March 13, 2012, Aeroflot failed to include a commitment in its customer service plan allowing reservations to be held at the quoted fare without payment, or canceled without penalty, for at least twenty-four hours after the reservation was made if the reservation was made one week or more prior to a flight's departure. Aeroflot' s failure to include this commitment in the contents of its plan violated 14 CFR 259.5(b)(4) and 49 USC § 41712.

By: Samuel Podberesky

DOT Fines Aeroflot for Violating DOT Airline Consumer Protection Rules - DOT Press Release

http://www.aeroflot.ru/


 

Air China, Limited

Order 2012-9-18
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of Article 17 of the Montreal Convention and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served September 17, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by Air China, Limited, of Article 17 of the Montreal Convention and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive trade practices, 49 USC § 41712, involving the carrier’s blanket exclusion on reimbursement for a class of items contained in lost bags on Air China flights to or from the United States. It directs Air China to cease and desist from future similar violations of Article 17 and section 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $40,000.

For a significant period of time, Air China had a policy of refusing reimbursement for baggage claims based on a blanket exclusion as stated in its “conditions of carriage.” Specifically, in Article 8.3.3 of those conditions the carrier, acting properly within its rights, warned passengers not to include in their checked baggage “money, jewelry, precious metals, computers, personal electronic devices, negotiable papers, securities or other valuables, prescribed medicine to be taken regularly, business documents, passports and other identification documents or samples.” However, in Articles 8.3.3 and 8.3.4 the carrier stated that with respect to passengers who failed to heed the admonition in Article 8.3.3 and nevertheless included prohibited items in their checked baggage, it would “not be responsible for any loss, damage or confiscation…”

By: Samuel Podberesky

http://www.airchina.com.cn/


 

Solar Tours, Inc.

Order 2012-9-19
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 257.5

Issued and Served September 17, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by Solar Tours, Inc. that failed to disclose codeshare arrangements as required by 14 CFR Part 257 and 49 USC § 41712(c). These failures also constitute separate and distinct unfair and deceptive practices prohibited by section 41712(a). The consent order directs Solar to cease and desist from future violations of Part 257 and section 41712 and assesses Solar a compromise civil penalty of $30,000.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed a lack of compliance by Solar with section 257.5 of the Department’s code-share disclosure rule and 49 USC § 41712(c). For a period of time during 2012, on its Internet website, Solar 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. Specifically, Solar did not display the corporate names of the transporting carriers and any other names under which those flights were held out to the public during the flight selection and booking process. As a result consumers were unable to learn the identity of the airline that would actually operate the aircraft on which they would be flying.

By: Samuel Podberesky

http://www.solartours.com


 

Pakistan International Airlines Corporation

Order 2012-9-21
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR Part 259

Issued and Served September 19, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations of 14 CFR Part 259 and 49 USC § 41712 involving the failure of Pakistan International Airlines Corporation to adhere to the assurances in its contingency plan for lengthy tarmac delays that the carrier would not permit an international flight to remain on the tarmac for more than four hours without providing passengers an opportunity to deplane. This order directs PIA to cease and desist from future similar violations of Part 259 and section 41712 and assesses the carrier $150,000 in civil penalties.

An investigation by Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed that on October 29, 2011, 233 passengers were delayed on the tarmac for four hours and forty-seven minutes in violation of 14 CFR 259.4(b)(2), when PIA flight 711, traveling from Manchester Airport in England to JFK, diverted to IAD.

On October 29, 2011, an early winter weather event occurred in the Northeast causing significant equipment outages at JFK and Newark International Airport and major Air Traffic Control issues throughout the Northeast United States. PIA flight 711 was scheduled to arrive at JFK at 3:27 pm on October 29. However, flight 711 was unable to land at JFK as planned due to interruptions in JFK’s Instrument Landing System equipment. Consequently, Air Traffic Control instructed flight 711 to remain in a holding pattern for 20 minutes and then extended the holding pattern for an additional 20 minutes. The captain of flight 711 attempted to divert to PIA’s principal diversion airport, Boston’s Logan International Airport; however, BOS was unable to accommodate the flight, as it was already handling a large volume of international diversions from JFK.

At approximately 3:55 pm, the captain of flight 711 decided to divert to IAD due to the limited amount of fuel remaining onboard the aircraft, and landed at IAD at 4:28 pm. After landing at IAD, flight 711 was instructed to park at a remote aircraft bay/de-icing pad. According to PIA, the diversion to IAD was intended for refueling purposes only; however, the carrier notes that refueling was delayed due to increased demand for fuel by other diverted traffic from JFK and flight 711’s remote parking location, which necessitated the use of fuel trucks that had to cross active taxiways in order to reach the aircraft to deliver the fuel.

Although the captain and first officer were able to safely deplane the aircraft via air stairs in order to conduct external safety inspections of the aircraft, PIA indicated that it believed that deplaning passengers via air stairs may have been unsuitable due to the inclement weather, as well as the number of passengers requiring wheelchairs and the number of small children on board. However, PIA made no other attempts to deplane passengers on flight 711 by any other means (e.g., via a gate or mobile airport lounge) or to solicit assistance from the airport operator in deplaning because, according to PIA, the passengers did not indicate a desire to deplane during the tarmac delay. PIA also never contacted CBP at IAD to inquire about deplaning passengers.

In summary, the Enforcement Office found that PIA did not adhere to the terms of its contingency plan and failed to provide passengers an opportunity to deplane before the tarmac delay exceeded four hours. This failure by PIA to adhere to the terms of its contingency plan by failing to offer each passenger the opportunity to deplane within four hours of arrival violates 14 CFR 295.4 and 49 USC § 41712.

By: Samuel Podberesky

DOT Fines Pakistan Int'l Airlines for Denying Passengers Opportunity to Leave Aircraft During Lengthy Tarmac Delay - DOT Press Release

http://www.piac.com.pk


 

British Airways Plc

Order 2012-10-1
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of Articles 17 and 19 of the Montreal Convention, 14 CFR 399.84 and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served October 1, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by British Airways Plc of Articles 17 and 19 of the Montreal Convention, related to monetary claims for loss, damage or delay of checked baggage on flights to or from the United States. In addition, this order concerns advertisements published by the carrier that violate the Department’s full-fare advertising requirements stated in 14 CFR 399.84 and enforcement case precedent current at the time of the advertisements’ publication. The British Airways policies and practices in question, moreover, violated 49 USC § 41712, the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive trade practices and unfair methods of competition.

This order directs British Airways to cease and desist from future similar violations of Articles 17 and 19 of the Convention, 14 CFR 399.84, and 49 USC § 41712 and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $250,000.

First, British Airways deceptively advertised air fares as “free” or based on mileage awards that were made available to members or joiners of its frequent flyer programs, in connection with promotions of British Airways credit cards, companion fares or frequent flyer awards, when, in fact, consumers would in some cases be required to pay mandatory charges imposed by the carrier, described by British Airways as “airline surcharges, including fuel surcharges.” The mandatory charge that, according to British Airways, represented a “fuel surcharge” in some cases amounted to as much as $600 per person for each reward or “free” ticket. In addition, in the relevant advertisements British Airways failed to provide proper notice of additional taxes and government fees that could at the time properly be stated separately from the advertised “free” fares.

The Enforcement Office reviewed a number of air fare and air tour advertisements offered on British Airways’ web sites and in the company’s electronic e-mail solicitations, regarding “complimentary,” “companion,” “redemption,” or “reward” air travel. The review showed in many instances British Airways not only failed to state the full price to be paid by the consumer by omitting mandatory carrier charges, but it failed to provide proper disclosures of applicable taxes and government fees. While noting, in the terms and conditions appended to the promotional offers, that the consumer was liable for taxes and government-imposed fees in order to use the earned reward travel, these advertisements failed to disclose the amounts of these additional taxes and fees, either on the same screen or through a hyperlink. These violations continued after the effective date of the Department’s new rule which requires that all mandatory charges, including taxes and government fees, be included in the advertised fare with respect to all air fares.

A second type of violation found involves a number of British Airways advertisements in which the carrier failed to state clearly and conspicuously and prominently and proximately to the advertised fare that an advertised “each way” fare required a round-trip purchase. For example, British Airways in 2011 promoted low fares from multiple gateways in the United States to London and beyond, but the round-trip purchase requirement was described in very small type, using uncommon abbreviations and positioned beneath a prominent illustration such that it did not comply with the requirement that it be prominent and proximate to the advertised fare.

By failing to include all mandatory carrier-imposed charges in advertised fares and failing to properly disclose taxes and government fees applicable to those fares, and by failing to properly disclose the round-trip purchase requirements in certain sale fares advertising, British Airways violated section 399.84 and engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices in violation of 49 USC § 41712.

By: Samuel Podberesky

DOT Fines British Airways for Violating Advertising, International Baggage Compensation Rules - DOT Press Release

http://www.britishairways.com/


 

TEM Enterprises d/b/a Xtra Airways

Order 2012-10-3
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR Parts 212 and 380

Issued and Served October 2, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations of certain consumer protection provisions of the Department of Transportation’s Public Charter regulations by TEM Enterprises d/b/a Xtra Airways, a direct air carrier for a number of Public Charter programs filed by Southern Sky Air & Tours d/b/a Myrtle Beach Direct Air & Tours. In violation of 14 CFR Parts 212 and 380, Xtra Airways operated numerous Public Charter flights on behalf of Direct Air without first receiving the full charter price for those flights, thereby operating on the basis of a prospective payment or credit and it failed to make reasonable efforts to ascertain before undertaking Public Charter flights that the charter operator was in compliance with 14 CFR Part 380. In addition, subsequent to the cessation of Direct Air’s operations and in violation of 14 CFR Parts 212 and 380, Xtra Airways cancelled charter flights less than ten days before the scheduled departure date and failed to return to their points of origin all passengers who purchased round-trip transportation on Xtra Airways’ operated Public Charter flights and whom Xtra Airways had already transported on their outbound flights. These activities constituted unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712. This order directs Xtra Airways to cease and desist from future violations of section 41712 and the aforementioned Federal regulations and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $300,000.

Beginning with all flights departing on or after March 3, 2012, sufficient funds were not transferred from Direct Air’s escrow account to Xtra Airways prior to the operation of the pertinent flights. Several flights prior to March 3 also involved late payments. Xtra Airways thus had early notice that Direct Air was not complying with the Department’s Public Charter regulations. With such late payments, pursuant to 14 CFR 212.3(d) and 380.40, Xtra Airways should have undertaken reasonable efforts to verify that Direct Air was operating in compliance with Part 380. Rather, Xtra Airways suffered Direct Air’s conduct and, in violation of 14 CFR 212.3(e) and 380.11, continued to operate flights listed in Public Charter Prospectus 11-183 without requiring from Direct Air payment in full of the total charter price. By March 13, 2012, Direct Air owed several hundred thousand dollars to Xtra Airways for flights Xtra Airways had completed on Direct Air’s behalf.

On March 13, 2012, Xtra Airways ceased all flights under the Public Charter program. The Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings immediately contacted Xtra Airways about this matter. The Enforcement Office reminded Xtra Airways of the carrier’s obligations under 14 CFR 380.43 to not cancel charter flights less than ten days before the scheduled departure date and under 14 CFR 212.3(f) to return all passengers who had purchased round-trip transportation and whom it carried on their outbound journeys. Nevertheless, Xtra Airways failed to ensure the return of stranded passengers.

By: Samuel Podberesky

DOT Fines Xtra Airways for Charter Violations Related to Direct Air's Shutdown - DOT Press Release

http://www.xtraairways.com/


 

734758 Ontario, Limited d/b/a FlightNetwork.com

Order 2012-10-4
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84

Issued and Served October 5, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns the Internet website (www.FlightNetwork.com) of 734758 Ontario, Limited, d/b/a FlightNetwork.com, a ticket agent based in Canada that violated the advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR 399.84(a), as well as 49 USC §41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices. It directs FlightNetwork to cease and desist from future violations of 399.84(a) and section 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $15,000.

For a period of time during the Spring of 2012, FlightNetwork failed to meet the requirements of 14 CFR 399.84(a). From the primary Internet booking path of the FlightNetwork.com homepage, staff from the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings conducted a search for flights from Atlanta to Washington, DC. The search returned a landing page that displayed fare quotations which broke out the additional taxes and fees. Failing to include the additional taxes and fees in the fare quoted on the first landing page violates section 399.84(a), and constitutes an unfair and deceptive practice in violation of 49 USC § 41712.

By: Samuel Podberesky

http://www.flightnetwork.com/


 

Jetstar Airways Pty Limited

Order 2012-10-2
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of Article 17 of the Montreal Convention and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served October 5, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by Jetstar Airways Pty Limited, an Australian air carrier, of Article 17 of the Montreal Convention and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive trade practices, 49 USC § 41712, involving the carrier’s blanket exclusion on reimbursement for a class of items contained in lost bags on Jetstar flights to or from the United States. It directs Jetstar to cease and desist from future similar violations of Article 17 and section 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $30,000.

According to Article 7.4 of Jetstar’s contract of carriage, passengers:

“must not include in [their] checked Baggage: fragile, delicate or perishable items, computers, items with a special value, such as money, jewelry, precious metals, silverware, negotiable papers, share certificates, securities or other valuable documents, cameras, electronic equipment, commercial goods or business documents, or passports and other travel documents. As [Jetstar’s] liability is limited (see 14), [it] will not be liable for any inconvenience or Damage [passengers] suffer if [they] have ignored [Jetstar’s] requirements and included the item/s as Checked Baggage.”

Article 14.3(a) of Jetstar’s contract of carriage provides:

Except to the extent required by law, [Jetstar is] not liable for Damage to items which [passengers] are asked not to include in… checked baggage (under 7.4).

While we note that Article 14.3 includes language that appears to condition the blanket exclusion set forth in Article 7.4, Jetstar’s response to the Department acknowledged that their policy regarding baggage liability “to comply with all applicable laws had not been applied consistently.”

By: Samuel Podberesky

http://www.jetstar.com.au/


 

Qantas Airways Limited

Order 2012-10-12
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 14 CFR 399.85(b) and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served October 11, 2012

Consent Order

This order concerns violations by Qantas Airways Limited of 14 CFR 399.85(b) and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712. It directs Qantas to cease and desist from future similar violations and assesses the carrier $100,000 in civil penalties.

As a foreign air carrier, Qantas is subject to the prohibition on engaging in unfair and deceptive practices set forth in 49 USC § 41712 and to the baggage fee disclosure requirements of 14 CFR 399.85(b). For a period of time after January 24, 2012, Qantas violated section 399.85(b) by failing to disclose on the first screen in which it offers a fare quotation for a specific itinerary that additional airline fees for baggage may apply and where consumers could see those fees. By violating section 399.85(b), Qantas also engaged in an unfair and deceptive practice and unfair method of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712.

By: Samuel Podberesky

Qantas Fined for Failing to Disclose Baggage Fees - DOT Press Release - October 11, 2012

http://www.qantas.com.au/


 

Worldwide Travel, Inc.

Order 2012-10-13
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84

Issued and Served October 11, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns advertisements by Worldwide Travel, Inc., that violated the full fare advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR 399.84, as well as 49 USC § 41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition. This order directs Worldwide Travel to cease and desist from future violations of section 399.84 and section 41712, and assesses the ticket agent a compromise civil penalty of $15,000.

As a ticket agent, Worldwide Travel is subject to the advertising requirements of Part 399 of the Department’s rules. Pursuant to 14 CFR 399.84, carriers and ticket agents advertising airfares must state the full price to be paid by the consumer. Prior to January 26, 2012, the Department allowed taxes and fees collected by carriers and ticket agents, such as passenger facility charges and departure taxes, to be stated separately from base fares in advertisements, so long as such taxes and fees were levied by a government entity, were not ad valorem in nature, i.e., not assessed as a percentage of the fare price, were collected on a per-passenger basis, and their existence and amounts were clearly indicated at the first point in the advertisements where a fare was presented so that consumers could immediately determine the full fare to be paid. Violations of section 399.84 constitute unfair and deceptive practices in violation of 49 USC § 41712.

Prior to January 26, 2012, in print advertisements, it was permissible to place an asterisk or other symbol proximate to the advertised fare that referred the reader to the bottom of the advertisement where the nature and amount of those taxes and fees that could properly be stated separately were shown.1 After January 26, the breakout of taxes and government fees was prohibited.

Notwithstanding the requirements of Part 399, for a period of time during 2011, Worldwide Travel’s print advertisements in the Pakistan Post listed fares to Pakistan from the United States that stated that taxes and surcharges were extra, but did not give their amount. Consumers were made aware of the total price only after calling Worldwide Travel’s telephone agents. Worldwide Travel’s failure to provide proper notice of taxes and fees that could then be legally stated separately from the fare violated 14 CFR 399.84 and 49 USC § 41712.

By: Samuel Podberesky

http://www.worldwidetravelinc.com


 


I-Jet Aviation, LLC

Order 2012-10-20
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC §§ 41101 and 41712 and 14 CFR Part 399

Issued and Served October 19, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns unauthorized air transportation by I-Jet Aviation, LLC in violation of 49 USC § 41101 and 49 USC § 41712. For a period of time in 2011, I-Jet engaged in the provision of air transportation without holding requisite economic authority from the Department of Transportation. This order also concerns I-Jet’s violations of 14 CFR 399.80, which prohibits certain practices by ticket agents that constitute unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition. This order directs I-Jet to cease and desist from such further violations and assesses a compromise civil penalty of $50,000.

an investigation by the Department’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed that for a period of time in 2011, I-Jet engaged in unauthorized air transportation as an indirect air carrier. Specifically, I-Jet obtained a large portion of its business by bidding, as a principal acting in its own right, on solicitations from various charter customers, all of which were university athletic departments. After winning a bid, I-Jet entered into an agreement with the charterer-university and became contractually bound as a principal to provide charter air transportation to that university. Then, in order to fulfill that contractual obligation, I-Jet entered into a separate agreement with a direct air carrier, which then became contractually responsible to I-Jet, as the charterer, rather than to the university, for operating the charter flights. On all occasions relevant herein, I- Jet was not authorized to act as an agent of the universities or of the direct air carriers that operated the service. Under these circumstances, I-Jet unlawfully engaged in air transportation as an indirect air carrier.

A separate matter concerns I-Jet’s violations of 49 USC §§ 41101 and 41712 and 14 CFR 399.80(a). Specifically, I-Jet’s Internet website contained language and photos that could have led a consumer to reasonably conclude that I-Jet is a direct air carrier, which it is not. For example, I-Jet’s website made numerous references to “our aircraft” and “our 737/200 aircraft,” which, along with pictures depicting the exterior and interior of aircraft, can reasonably be read to indicate that I-Jet is a direct air carrier. Moreover, in a written charter service proposal submitted by I-Jet to a university, I-Jet identified itself as an “airline” that operates “737-200” aircraft and holds a “121/125” FAA Certificate. Through statements such as these, I-Jet unlawfully held out air transportation as if it were a direct air carrier when it did not have proper economic authority.

Furthermore, in October 2011, after winning a bid from a university, I-Jet provided the university with the operating certificate and insurance certificate of Clementine Aviation Services, LLC the direct air carrier that I-Jet proposed to operate these flights. At all times relevant to this matter, Clementine was a large aircraft operator licensed by the FAA under 14 CFR Part 125. Authority under this FAA regulation is limited to private carriage operations.11 Notwithstanding the fact that it knew that Clementine did not have the authority to engage in common carriage and that Clementine specifically declined I-Jet’s proposal to engage in any charter service, I-Jet misrepresented to the university Clementine’s willingness and availability for such service. Such conduct by I-Jet violates 14 CFR 399.80(c) and constitutes a separate and distinct violation 49 USC § 41712.

By: Samuel Podberesky

http://ijetaviation.com


 

Societe Air France

Order 2012-11-1
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84(a)

Issued and Served November 1, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by Société Air France that violate the Department’s full fare advertising regulation, 14 CFR 399.84(a), by (1) failing to properly disclose applicable taxes and fees charged to consumers booking frequent flyer award tickets; and (2) failing to clearly distinguish between taxes and government-imposed fees and carrier-imposed fuel surcharges once such taxes and fees were disclosed. These violations constitute violations under 49 USC § 41712(a), which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices. This order directs Air France to cease and desist from future similar violations of section 399.84(a) and section 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $85,000.

In response to a consumer complaint, the Enforcement Office investigated the disclosure of taxes and fees on Air France’s United States-focused “Flying Blue” website, which is dedicated to the purchase and redemption of frequent-flyer award tickets. On this website, a member of Air France’s loyalty program, “Flying Blue,” searches for a flight in a manner similar to a search on Air France’s primary website by entering basic flight search criteria, such as origin city, destination city, and dates of flight. In response, Air France provides a matrix of mileage amounts needed to redeem a ticket instead of a monetary fare amount. However, at all times relevant to this matter, Air France did not provide the monetary amounts of taxes and fees that consumers were required to pay in conjunction with the miles in order to purchase a ticket in the initial mileage matrix. Instead, at the bottom of the matrix page, Air France inserted a disclaimer noting, without further elaboration or direction, that taxes and fees were extra. The failure to identify any amount of taxes and fees on the first page matrix was particularly troubling because, in conjunction with mileage ticket redemption, Air France imposes a fuel surcharge that can sometimes be several hundred dollars. Failure to disclose the monetary amount of applicable taxes and carrier-imposed fees on the first page of results after a frequent-flyer award flight search initiated by a consumer is a violation of section 399.84(a) and an unfair and deceptive practice under 49 USC § 41712(a).

Furthermore, the Enforcement Office found that after consumers selected flights from the search itinerary results page, they were taken to a summary page, where, in fine print at the bottom, Air France’s fuel surcharge was included under the rubric “taxes,” while a separate rubric, “surcharge,” listed the amount of carrier-imposed charges as being zero. This method of describing the fuel surcharge continued after the deadline to alter taxes and fees descriptions set by the Enforcement Office in its February 21, 2012, guidance. Failure to accurately describe carrier-imposed surcharges and leading consumers to believe a carrier-imposed charge is a tax is a violation of section 399.84(a) and an unfair and deceptive practice and an unfair method of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712(a).

By: Samuel Podberesky

DOT Fines Air France for Violating Price Advertising Rule - DOT Press Release - November 1, 2012

http://www.airfrance.us/


 

Mauiva, LLC

Order 2012-11-3
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC §§ 41101 and 41712 and 14 CFR Part 380

Issued and Served November 6, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations during 2011 and 2012 of the Federal aviation economic licensing statute and of certain consumer protection provisions of the Department of Transportation’s Public Charter regulations by Mauiva, LLC, a Public Charter operator. On its website, Mauiva held out service in a manner that could confuse the public into believing it was a direct air carrier, in violation of 49 USC § 41101. On its website and in Groupon and Living Social advertisements, Mauiva also failed to disclose the name of the direct air carrier operating its charter flights and failed to properly reference its operator-participant contract, in violation of 14 CFR 380.30. In addition, Mauiva failed to properly handle certain charter participant funds in violation of 14 CFR 380.34. These activities constituted unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712. This order directs Mauiva to cease and desist from future violations of these statutes and Federal regulations and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $50,000.

Until August 2011, the website, which provided per-person prices for the available flights, also failed to reference or provide the text of the applicable operator-participant contract, in violation of 14 CFR 380.30(b). In August 2011, the operator-participant contract was added to the website, but was placed on a page titled “Terms” (subsequently changed to “Terms and Conditions”), which also included the terms and conditions of website use and the website’s privacy policy. The Department believes that such placement is misleading because consumers may infer that the “Terms” link leads to a landing page containing only information pertinent to their use of the website, and not the operator-participant contract itself. Because of its opaque placement, the August 2011 posting of the operator-participant contract did not satisfy the notice requirement of 14 CFR 380.30(b).

In the summer of 2011, Mauiva conducted an advertising campaign through Living Social, which sends solicitations by e-mail to its subscribers. The Living Social e-mails contained details of flights offered by Mauiva, as well as a link to a website that contained further information. The e-mails and the website advertised per-person prices. In violation of 14 CFR 380.30(a), these solicitations did not state the name of the direct air carrier. In violation of 14 CFR 380.30(b), these solicitations did not reference the operator-participant contract.

In January 2012, Mauiva conducted an advertising campaign through Groupon, which sends solicitations by e-mail to its subscribers. The Groupon e-mails contained details of flights offered by Mauiva, as well as a link to a website that contained further information. The e-mails and the website advertised per-person prices. In violation of 14 CFR 380.30(a), these solicitations did not state the name of the direct air carrier. In violation of 14 CFR 380.30(b), these solicitations did not reference the operator-participant contract.

In addition, for a substantial period of time, in violation of 14 CFR 380.34, certain charter participant funds were deposited into Mauiva’s operating account rather than its escrow account. The Department takes very seriously this violation because by depositing charter participant funds into an operating account when the use of an escrow account is required, a Public Charter operator places those consumers’ funds in jeopardy. An under-funded escrow account could result in charter participants’ inability to receive refunds for cancelled flights.

The violations described above also constitute violations of 49 USC § 41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition.

By: Samuel Podberesky

http://www.mauiva.com/


 

AeroSvit Airlines

Order 2012-11-6
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 14 CFR Part 382 and 49 USC § 41705

Issued and Served November 8, 2012

Consent Order

This order concerns violations by AeroSvit Airlines of the requirements of 14 CFR Part 382 with respect to the filing of annual reports detailing disability-related complaints that AeroSvit received from passengers in calendar years 2008 and 2011. Part 382 implements the Air Carrier Access Act, 49 USC § 41705, and violations of Part 382 also violate the ACAA. This order directs AeroSvit to cease and desist from future similar violations of Parts 382 and the ACAA and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $20,000.

AeroSvit is a foreign air carrier based in Kiev, Ukraine, 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. AeroSvit’s operations into the United States clearly fall within the scope of the reporting rule. Therefore, AeroSvit violated section 382.157(d) and the ACAA when it submitted to the Department the report for calendar year 2011 on February 17, 2012, eighteen dates late, and the report for calendar year 2008 on February 25, 2009, four weeks late. Additionally, we note that, in June 2009 AeroSvit was warned that a subsequent failure to file the annual report in a timely manner could result in enforcement action.

By: Samuel Podberesky

http://aerosvit.com/


 

Malaysia Airline System Bhd

Order 2012-11-26
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of Article 17 of the Montreal Convention and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served November 21, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order involves violations by Malaysia Airline System Bhd 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 loss of checked baggage on MAS flights to or from the United States. It directs MAS to cease and desist from future similar violations of Article 17 and section 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $30,000.

According to MAS’ contract of carriage on its website, the carrier states in Article 16.4.8, in apparent violation of the Convention that it is “not liable for damage to fragile or perishable items, artwork, cameras, money, jewelry, precious metals, silverware, negotiable papers, securities, or other valuables, business documents, passports and other identification documents, or samples, which are included in [a passenger’s] checked baggage, whether with or without our knowledge.” In addition, in a number of instances, MAS applied this blanket exclusion to deny passenger claims.

By: Samuel Podberesky

http://www.malaysiaairlines.com/


 

STI Travel, LLC

Order 2012-11-27
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84(a)

Issued and Served November 23, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by STI Travel, LLC that failed to comply with the Department’s full-fare advertising rule, 14 CFR 399.84(a), and constituted an unfair and deceptive practice prohibited by 49 USC § 41712. It directs STI to cease and desist from future violations of Part 399 and section 41712 and assesses STI a compromise civil penalty of $20,000.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings found that for a period of time after January 2012, STI advertised on its website and via email messages tour packages with an air component that did not include the entire price to be paid by the consumer and, therefore, failed to meet the requirements of 14 CFR 399.84(a). More specifically, the advertised prices of tour packages did not include “airport taxes and fuel surcharges.” Such conduct also constitutes an unfair and deceptive practice prohibited under 49 USC § 41712.

By: Samuel Podberesky

http://www.sti-travel.com


 

Travelzoo, Inc.

Order 2012-11-29
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 257.5

Issued and Served November 26, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by Travelzoo Inc. that violated 14 CFR Part 257 and 49 USC § 41712 by failing to properly disclose codeshare arrangements. These failures also constitute separate and distinct unfair and deceptive practices prohibited by section 41712. This consent order directs Travelzoo to cease and desist from future violations of Part 257 and section 41712 and assesses Travelzoo a compromise civil penalty of $50,000.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed a lack of compliance by Travelzoo with 14 CFR 257.5(d) and 49 USC § 41712(c). For a period of time during 2012, on its Internet website www.fly.com, Travelzoo 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. Specifically, Travelzoo 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. As a result, consumers were unable to learn, at an early stage of the booking process, the identity of the airline that would actually operate the aircraft on which they would be flying.

By: Samuel Podberesky

DOT Fines Travelzoo for Violation of Codeshare Disclosure Rules - DOT Press Release

http://www.travelzoo.com/


 

AirTrade International, Inc.

Order 2012-11-36
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712, 14 CFR 257.5 and Order 2011-4-21

Issued and Served November 30, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by Airtrade International, Inc., that failed to disclose code-share arrangements as required by 14 CFR Part 257 and 49 USC § 41712(c). These violations also constitute violations of 49 USC § 41712(a), which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices, and Order 2011-4-21, which directs Airtrade to cease and desist from violations of the Department’s codeshare disclosure regulations. This order directs Airtrade to cease and desist from future violations of Part 257, section 41712, and Order 2011-4-21, and assesses Airtrade a compromise civil penalty of $150,000.

On April 26, 2011, the Department issued Order 2011-4-21 against Airtrade. The order found that, for a period of time in 2011, Airtrade failed to comply with 14 CFR Part 257 and 49 USC § 41712(c). In addition, it directed Airtrade to cease and desist from further violations of 14 CFR Part 257 and 49 USC § 41712 and assessed Airtrade a civil penalty of $50,000.

At the time Order 2011-4-21 was issued, Airtrade appeared to be in compliance with section 257.5 of the Department’s codeshare disclosure rule and 49 USC § 41712(c). However, a follow-up investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings found that, for a period of time after April 26, 2012, Airtrade had fallen out of compliance and was once again failing 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. Specifically, on two of its Internet web sites, www.vayama.com and www.budgetair.com, Airtrade did not display the corporate names of the transporting carriers and any other names under which those flights were held out to the public during the flight selection and booking process. As a result, consumers were unable to learn the identity of the airline that would actually operate the aircraft on which they would be flying.

By: Samuel Poberesky

DOT Fines Airtrade for Violation of Code-Share Disclosure Rules - DOT Press Release

http://www.airtradeintl.com/


 

Vision Airlines, Inc.

Order 2012-12-1
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR Parts 212 and 380

Issued and Served December 5, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations of certain consumer protection provisions of the Department of Transportation’s Public Charter regulations by Vision Airlines, Inc., a direct air carrier for a Public Charter program filed by Southern Sky Air & Tours d/b/a Myrtle Beach Direct Air & Tours. Subsequent to the cessation of Direct Air’s operations and in violation of 14 CFR Parts 212 and 380, Vision Airlines cancelled charter flights less than ten days before the scheduled departure date and failed to return to their points of origin all passengers who purchased round-trip transportation on Vision Airlines’ operated Public Charter flights and whom Vision Airlines had already transported on their outbound flights. These activities constituted unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712. This order directs Vision Airlines to cease and desist from future violations of section 41712 and the aforementioned Federal regulations and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $50,000.

Vision Airlines was the direct air carrier in the Public Charter program covered by Public Charter Prospectus 12-052, which involved 228 flights on a variety of routes between cities in the Midwest and Northeast and points in Florida and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for the period from March 8, 2012, to April 30, 2012. The Public Charter operator was Southern Sky Air & Tours d/b/a Myrtle Beach Direct Air & Tours.

On March 13, 2012, Vision Airlines ceased all flights under the Public Charter program. The Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings immediately contacted Vision Airlines about this matter. The Enforcement Office reminded Vision Airlines of the carrier’s obligations under 14 CFR 380.43 to not cancel charter flights less than ten days before the scheduled departure date and under 14 CFR 212.3(f) to return all passengers who had purchased round-trip transportation and whom it carried on their outbound journeys. Nevertheless, Vision Airlines failed to ensure the return of stranded passengers.

By: Samuel Podberesky

DOT Fines Vision Airlines for Charter Violations Related to Direct Air's Shutdown - DOT Press Release

Order 2012-7-13 - Consent Order - Full-Fare Advertising

http://visionairlines.com/


 

Eros Group, Inc.

Order 2012-12-17
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 U.S.C. § 41712 and 14 CFR 257.5 and 399.84 - Codeshare Disclosure Requirements

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by Eros Group that violate the advertising and codeshare disclosure requirements specified in 14 CFR 399.84, and 257.5, respectively, as well as 49 U.S.C. § 41712, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices. It directs Eros to cease and desist from future violations of sections 399.84 and 257.5, and section 41712, and assesses the company a compromise civil penalty of $30,000.

In the spring of 2011, the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings conducted a search of websites under the control of Eros. When advertising code-share flights operated on behalf of a major air carrier by a regional air carrier, these websites failed on their flight itinerary pages to disclose the existence of code-sharing arrangements by displaying the corporate names of the transporting carriers and any other names under which those flights were held out to the public. Eros’ failure to disclose prominently, on the first page on which fares were advertised, the existence of code-sharing 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: Samuel Podberesky

http://www.erostours.com/
http://www.airtkt.com/


 

Scott’s Air LLC d/b/a Island Air Express

Order 2012-12-16
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 49 U.S.C. §§ 41101 and 41712 - Unauthorized Interstate Air Service

Issued and Served December 28, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns unauthorized interstate air service provided by Scott Air LLC d/b/a Island Air Express (Scott), a company without economic authority from the Department, that violated 49 U.S.C. § 41101 and constituted an unfair and deceptive practice prohibited by 49 U.S.C. § 41712. This order directs Scott to cease and desist from future violations of these sections and assesses a compromise civil penalty of $20,000.

Scott has safety authority from the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct intrastate operations. However, it holds no economic authority from the Department to provide or hold out interstate air transportation to the public. An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings (Enforcement Office) found that for a period of time since at least July 2012, Scott advertised its scheduled service between Ketchikan International Airport in Alaska and the Klawock Airport, which serves Craig and Klawock, Alaska, on its web site to viewers on the Internet without restriction. This website accepted reservations from passengers outside the State of Alaska via an automated reservations system and collected the advertised fare amount. The website also advertised a toll-free telephone number, 888-387-8989, that could be used to make reservations and is not restricted to intra-Alaskan calls. Scott’s website showed that all of its flights in this market were scheduled to conveniently connect to the Alaska Airlines flights at Ketchikan to and from Seattle and beyond. As part of the reservation process, a passenger could enter his or her Alaska Airlines connecting flight information.

Moreover, the websites of various third parties including Ketchikan International Airport, the Prince of Wales Chamber of Commerce, and several fishing lodges, listed a link to Scott’s website along with links to the websites of the other carriers serving the local airport or those websites included transportation to and from Ketchikan on Scott as part of their packages. As a result of these practices, Scott carried a significant number of passengers from outside the State of Alaska that were connecting to or from Alaska Airline flights. Scott’s operations, therefore, violated 49 U.S.C. §§ 41101 and 49 U.S.C. 41712.

By: Samuel Podberesky

http://islandairx.com/


 

World Travel Network, LLC

Order 2012-12-19
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 14 CFR 399.84 and 49 U.S.C. § 41712

Consent Order

This order concerns advertisements by World Travel Network that violated the advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR 399.84 and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition, 49 U.S.C. § 41712. It directs WTN to cease and desist from future similar violations and assesses the ticket agent a compromise civil penalty of $10,000.

WTN violated section 399.84 by advertising fares without including all carrier-imposed fees and not properly disclosing government-imposed fees and taxes in its advertisements. Specifically, in late 2011, in Express India, WTN advertised fares from the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area to India that stated that taxes were not included, but did not give their amount. The advertisements also improperly broke out carrier-imposed fuel surcharges from the base fare. Furthermore, for a period of time in late 2011 and early 2012, WTN’s Internet website advertised fares on its homepage that excluded taxes and carrier-imposed fees. Consumers learned the total price only after contacting WTN’s reservation agents.

By: Samuel Podberesky

http://www.wtnonline.com/


 

Copa Airlines, Inc.

Order 2012-12-18
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 14 CFR Parts 259 and 244 and 49 USC §§ 41712 and 41708

Issued and Served December 31, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by Copa Airlines, Inc. of 14 CFR Parts 259 and 244 and 49 USC §§ 41712 and 41708. Specifically, the carrier failed to adhere to the assurances in its contingency plan for lengthy tarmac delays that the carrier (1) would not allow an aircraft to remain on the tarmac for more than four hours before allowing passengers an opportunity to deplane, and (2) would provide customers with food and water within two hours after the aircraft left the gate in the case of a tarmac delay. Moreover, Copa failed to include certain required assurances in its contingency plan for lengthy tarmac delays and failed to file the required on-time performance information for a lengthy tarmac delay with the Department of Transportation. This order directs Copa to cease and desist from future similar violations of 14 CFR Parts 259 and 244 and 49 USC §§ 41712 and 41708 and assesses the carrier $150,000 in civil penalties.

The Enforcement Office found that Copa failed to provide passengers with an opportunity to deplane before the tarmac delay exceeded four hours and that Copa made no attempt to provide snack food to passengers within two hours after flight 831 left the gate. Copa’s failure to adhere to the terms of its contingency plan in this regard violated sections 259.4(b)(2) and 259.4(b)(3) and 49 USC § 41712.

Copa also failed to file BTS Form 244 “Tarmac Delay Report” with the Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ Office of Airline Information covering flight 831. The Department only learned of the tarmac delay experienced by flight 831 after reviewing two complaints it received from consumers aboard flight 831 alleging that they had experienced lengthy tarmac delays and that Copa had failed to provide food until several hours into the tarmac delay. After the Enforcement Office initiated an investigation of the circumstances surrounding the lengthy tarmac delay, the Enforcement Office discovered that Copa had failed to file the required report with the Department. Had it not been for the consumer complaints the Department received, Copa may have never provided information regarding the tarmac delay experienced by flight 831 as required by Part 244. Copa’s failure to file its tarmac delay report for flight 831 is a violation of 14 CFR 244.3 and 49 USC § 41708.

By: Samuel Podberesky

DOT Issues Two Fines Against Passenger Carriers for Tarmac Delay Violations - DOT Press Release

http://www.copaair.com/


 

Virgin America, Inc.

Order 2012-12-20
OST-2012-0002 - Violations of 14 CFR 259.4 and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served December 31, 2012

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations of 14 CFR Part 259 and 49 USC § 41712 by Virgin America Inc. when it failed to inform passengers on a flight delayed at the gate for a lengthy period of time of the opportunity to deplane. This order directs Virgin America to cease and desist from future similar violations of Part 259 and section 41712 and assesses the carrier $55,000 in civil penalties.

Virgin America operated flight 211, an Airbus A320 with 126 passengers on board, from ORD to San Francisco International Airport on July 18, 2012. Flight 211 was scheduled to depart ORD at 8:20 p.m. and arrive in San Francisco at 12:45 a.m., local time; however, boarding was delayed by 50 minutes because of a late inbound aircraft arrival. The boarding process was complete at 8:57 p.m., yet inclement weather over Chicago resulted in an additional delay while the aircraft was parked at the gate. During this gate delay, passengers remained on board the aircraft with the door to the aircraft open and the jet bridge attached. The delay at the gate lasted two hours and 16 minutes, until the door to the aircraft was closed and the aircraft left the gate. A passenger on board flight 211 filed a complaint with the Department’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division alleging that the aircraft sat on the tarmac for more than four hours.

By: Samuel Podberesky

DOT Issues Two Fines Against Passenger Carriers for Tarmac Delay Violations - DOT Press Release

http://www.virginamerica.com/

 

 


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