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OST-2014-0001 - Consent Orders

 

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OST-2014-0229 - Delta Air Lines - Notice of Enforcement Proceeding and Proposed Assessment of Civil Penalties - Codeshare Disclosure

 


WK Travel, Inc. d/b/a OneTravel

Order 2014-1-1
OST-2014-0001 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR Part 257

Issued and Served January 2, 2014

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by WK Travel, Inc., d/b/a OneTravel, when it failed to disclose code-share arrangements as required by 49 USC § 41712(c) and 14 CFR Part 257 during telephone airline reservation calls. These failures also constitute separate and distinct violations of 49 USC § 41712(a), the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices. The order directs WK Travel to cease and desist from future violations of Part 257 and section 41712 and assesses $95,000 in civil penalties.

WK Travel is part of the same legal family as Travelong, Inc. Both ticket agents use the same call center for taking phone reservations. In issuing this order, the Department has decided not to take separate enforcement action against Travelong for alleged violations of the same regulation and statute.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed a significant lack of compliance by WK Travel with section 257.5(b) of the Department’s code-share rule and 49 USC § 41712(c). For a period of time during January and February of 2013, Enforcement Office staff made a number of telephone calls to WK Travel as potential purchasers and inquired about booking a flight. During these calls, the WK Travel reservations agents answering these calls failed to make the required disclosure regarding code-share arrangements for the flights in question. Specifically, when discussing flights marketed by one carrier, but operated by another with the callers, WK Travel’s reservation agents only identified the marketing carrier and did not identify the corporate name of the carrier operating the flight or any other name under which the flight was operated, even when prompted by the caller. The telephone calls indicated that WK Travel generally failed to inform consumers booking flights involving code-share arrangements of the identity of the airline that would actually operate the aircraft on which the consumer would be flying.

By: Samuel Podberesky

DOT Fines Ticket Agent WK Travel for Codeshare Disclosure Violations - DOT Press Release

http://www.onetravel.com


 

Airtrade International, Inc. d/b/a Vayama

Order 2014-1-9
OST-2014-0001 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84

Issued and Served January 14, 2014

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Internet advertisements by Airtrade International, Inc. d/b/a Vayama that violate the Department’s full fare advertising rule, 14 CFR 399.84(a), and constitute a prohibited unfair and deceptive practice under 49 USC § 41712. The order directs Vayama to cease and desist from future violations of section 399.84 and section 41712, and assesses the company a compromise civil penalty of $80,000.

For a period of time in 2013, after a consumer selected a fare from a display of fare options, Vayama added its own fee to taxes and displayed the total amount under a general “Taxes and Fees” category on a purchase review screen. This screen would include the “Base Fare” and then an amount labeled as “Taxes and Fees.” The amount would not differentiate what portion of the total consisted of taxes and government fees and what portion was Vayama’s own service charge. Therefore, consumers were unable to determine how much of the total price was attributable to the government and how much was attributable to Vayama. For example, Vayama would list a “Base Fare” for a domestic ticket of $178.60 and “Taxes and Fees” of $60.20 for a total fare of $238.80. However the actual amount of the taxes and government fees was less than $60.20 because Vayama had included its service fee of $25.00 in this amount.

For a period of time in 2012 and 2013, Vayama’s homepage advertised fares that were rounded down to the whole dollar below the actual total fare amount. For example, the webpage featured flight deals from various cities, such as Baltimore. Under the “Your flight deals from Baltimore” section, Vayama advertised fares to Moscow. When a consumer clicked the accompanying link, the landing page displayed a fare quotation for $707. However, a consumer who selected the $707 fare from Baltimore to Moscow was then taken to a third page, where the full fare, $707.37, was finally displayed. Compliant agents would have advertised this fare as $707.37 or rounded the fare up to $708, for example.

By failing to accurately state the exact fare or round up the advertised fare and failing to accurately distinguish between taxes and government fees and agent-imposed fees, Vayama violated section 399.84(a). Such violations also constitute unfair and deceptive practices in violation of 49 USC § 41712.

By: Samuel Podberesky

DOT Fines Ticket Agent Vayama for Violating Price Advertising Rule - DOT Press Release

http://www.vayama.com


 

Global Target International, Inc. d/b/a GTS Globotours

Order 2014-2-14
OST-2014-0001 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR Part 399

Issued and Served February 20, 2014

Consent Order

This consent order concerns advertisements by Global Target International Inc. d/b/a GTS Globotours that violate the requirements specified in Part 399 of the Department’s regulations, and constitute unfair and deceptive trade practices in violation of 49 USC § 41712. An investigation by the Department’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed that Globotours’ advertisements for air tours violated 14 CFR 399.84(a), 399.88 and 399.89, by failing to state the full fare and impermissibly stating that the advertised prices were subject to post-sale price increases even after final payment. The advertising violations also constituted unfair and deceptive practices in violation of section 41712. This order directs Globotours to cease and desist from future violations and assesses the company a compromise civil penalty of $80,000.

An investigation by the Enforcement Office revealed that during 2012 and 2013, Globotours published daily advertisements on its own and other web sites, promoting air tour packages, combining airfares, hotel, cruises, land tours, and related amenities 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). The prices advertised by Globotours for its air package tours failed to include service and/or booking fees and failed to disclose that numerous significant restrictions applied. For example, the prices required double occupancy, or the payment of a single supplement, which must be disclosed prominently and proximately to the advertised fare. Globotours also advertised air tour package prices that did not include “departure taxes, airline security fees, fuel surcharges, airport fee and local taxes” in violation of the full-fare advertising rule.

In addition, the Globotours web site advertised prices with a statement that: “Tour prices include current fuel surcharges & US departure taxes of approx. $414.00 per person.” However, further down on the web page the following language appeared: “All tour prices include cost of planning, booking and operations and are subject to change without prior notice.” In connection with certain air tour packages, after consumers had paid the initial required deposit, Globotours informed consumers that there would be a price increase, for example, due to an increase in a fuel surcharge, and that the only way to avoid that increase was to pay the full amount of the trip immediately. It is impermissible under the Department’s regulations to advertise less than the full fare or to impose additional charges after a consumer has paid for an air tour package unless, before accepting payment, the ticket agent has obtained written consent by the consumer to price increases. The failure to state the full price is a violation of 14 CFR 399.84(a), and imposing additional fees or surcharges after the purchase, as described above, does not comply with 14 CFR 399.88 or 399.89. By violating sections 399.84(a), 399.88, and 399.89, Globotours also engaged in unfair and deceptive practices in violation of 49 USC 41712.

By: Blane Workie

http://globotours.net/


 

jetBlue Airways Corporation

Order 2014-2-9
OST-2014-0001 - Violations of 14 CFR Part 254 and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served February 20, 2014

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by jetBlue Airways Corporation of the Department’s domestic baggage liability rule, 14 CFR Part 254. It directs jetBlue to cease and desist from future violations of Part 254, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $25,000.

In August 2013, the Office of Aviation and Enforcement Proceedings learned that jetBlue was dispensing boarding passes from its kiosks which stated on the back of the pass that the limit on domestic baggage liability was $2,500, the liability limit in effect between January 2000 and October 2004. Specifically, the Enforcement Office determined that out of jetBlue’s seventy nine airport stations, forty four stations had jetBlue-owned kiosks, and it was those kiosks that were printing boarding passes with the outdated baggage liability limit. The outdated amount was found only on the back of jetBlue’s boarding passes and not on electronic tickets and other documents that disclosed the baggage liability limit. As described above, in accordance with section 254.5, carriers are required to provide passengers with the proper notice of the baggage liability limit on or with their tickets. By providing outdated information to passengers, jetBlue violated 14 CFR 254.5 and 49 USC § 41712.

By: Blane Workie

http://www.jetblue.com/


 

Sky King, Inc.

Order 2014-3-18
OST-2014-0001 - Violations of 49 USC § 41708 and 14 CFR Part 241

Issued and Served March 31, 2014

Consent Order

This consent order concerns reporting delinquencies by Sky King Inc. that constitute violations of 49 USC § 41708 and the accounting and reporting requirements specified in 14 CFR Part 241. This order directs Sky King to cease and desist from future violations, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $100,000 to be allowed as an administrative claim in its bankruptcy case, Case No. 12-35905-C-11, pending in the Eastern District of California, Sacramento Division.

Sky King is a certificated air carrier and is therefore subject to the reporting requirements of 49 USC § 41708 and 14 CFR Part 241. Sky King failed to file in a timely manner a revised Form 41 for all the quarterly reports that were due in 2013 despite repeated requests from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

By: Blane Workie

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sky_King,_Inc.


 

Skyscanner Limited

Order 2014-4-2
OST-2014-0001 - Violations of 14 CFR 257.5(d) and 399.85(b) and 49 USC 41712

Issued and Served April 1, 2014

Consent Order

This order concerns violations by Skyscanner Limited of 14 CFR 257.5(d) and 399.85(b) and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition, 49 USC § 41712. It directs Skyscanner to cease and desist from future similar violations and assesses the company $40,000 in civil penalties.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed a lack of compliance by Skyscanner with 14 CFR 257.5(d) and 49 USC § 41712(c). On its Internet website, www.skyscanner.com, Skyscanner failed to properly disclose the existence of codesharing arrangements when advertising flights operated by a regional air carrier on behalf of a major air carrier pursuant to a codeshare arrangement between them. Specifically, Skyscanner 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 the identity of the airline that would actually operate the aircraft on which they would be flying. By failing to properly disclose such codeshare arrangements, Skyscanner violated 14 CFR 257.5(d) and 49 USC § 41712(a).

The investigation also revealed a lack of compliance by Skyscanner with section 399.85(b). Specifically, on the first screen in which a fare quotation for a specific itinerary is offered to consumers, Skyscanner failed to clearly and prominently disclose that additional fees for baggage might apply and where consumers could view the applicable baggage fees. By failing to properly disclose baggage fee information, Skyscanner violated 14 CFR 399.85(b) and 49 USC § 41712(a).

By: Blane Workie

http://www.skyscanner.com


 

British Airways PLC

Order 2014-4-8
OST-2014-0001 - Violations of 14 CFR Part 259 and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served April 8, 2014

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by British Airways PLC of 14 CFR Part 259 and 49 USC § 41712, regarding two separate flights. Specifically, in one instance, the carrier failed to adhere to the assurance 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. In a second instance, the carrier failed to inform passengers on a flight delayed at the gate with the door open for a lengthy period of time of the opportunity to deplane. This order directs British Airways to cease and desist from future similar violations of 14 CFR Part 259 and 49 USC § 41712 and assesses the carrier $225,000 in civil penalties.

Flight BA 184

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed that on November 7, 2012, flight BA 184, traveling from EWR to London Heathrow Airport, carrying 187 passengers, was delayed on the tarmac at EWR for five hours and thirty-four minutes. Flight BA 184, scheduled to depart at 6:50 p.m., closed its aircraft doors at 6:51 p.m., but according to British Airways, departure was delayed until 12:25 a.m. due to adverse weather conditions which necessitated de-icing. British Airways states that pursuant to standard operating procedures during de-icing operations, the aircraft was detached from the jetway and the doors remained closed for safety reasons and that reattaching the aircraft to the jetway would likely have disrupted the deicing attempts and resulted in cancellation of the flight.

Section 259.4(b)(2) requires carriers to provide passengers on international flights the opportunity to deplane before the flight has been on the tarmac for more than four hours. We view the carrier’s decision not to provide passengers with an opportunity to deplane as an operational decision that does not fit within the exception to the tarmac delay rule stated in section 259.4(b)(2)(i). The Enforcement Office found that British Airways did not adhere to the terms of its contingency plan and therefore violated 14 CFR 295.4 and 49 USC § 41712 when it failed to provide passengers on flight BA 184 an opportunity to deplane before the tarmac delay exceeded four hours.

Flight BA 214

In addition, on November 15, 2012, British Airways flight BA 214, carrying 329 passengers, scheduled to depart at 9:00 p.m. from BOS to LHR, pushed off the gate at 9:34 p.m. due to a late arriving aircraft. At approximately 10:00 p.m., the aircraft returned to the gate because of a mechanical issue and the doors were opened. The aircraft remained at the gate with its doors open until passengers deplaned at 2:00 a.m. Based on an investigation by Enforcement Office, it appears that British Airways did not announce that passengers had the opportunity to deplane while the aircraft was at the gate with its doors open. The carrier states, however, that passengers were free to deplane during this time and that it did not receive any requests from passengers to deplane.

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, or the clock has stopped, because the doors are open at a gate or another disembarkation area, but the passengers are unaware that they have the option to deplane. Carriers are not required to provide passengers the opportunity to deplane in less than four hours, but if that opportunity does exist the rule requires that the carrier inform passengers of the option to deplane. 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 BA 214.

In order to comply with section 259.4(b)(6), British Airways was required to notify passengers that they could deplane the aircraft if they wished to do so beginning thirty minutes after flight BA 214 returned to the gate if the opportunity to deplane existed and every thirty minutes thereafter until the doors closed. British Airways’ failure to provide proper notification to passengers of the opportunity to deplane flight BA 214 is a violation of both 14 CFR 259.4(b)(6) and 49 USC § 41712.

By: Blane Workie

http://www.britishairways.com/


 

Air Europa Lineas Aereas, S.A.U.

Order 2014-5-5
OST-2014-0001 - Violations of 14 CFR Part 259 and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served May 14, 2014

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by Air Europa Lineas Aereas, S.A.U. of 14 CFR Part 259 and 49 USC § 41712. Specifically, the carrier failed to adhere to the assurance in its contingency plan for lengthy tarmac delays that it 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 Air Europa to cease and desist from future similar violations of 14 CFR Part 259 and 49 USC § 41712 and assesses the carrier $140,000 in civil penalties.

Air Europa is a foreign air carrier as defined by 49 USC § 40102(a)(21)2 that operates scheduled service into John F. Kennedy International Airport, a large hub airport, using at least one aircraft having a designed seating capacity of 30 or more passenger seats. An investigation by the Enforcement Office determined that during the night of November 7-8, 2012, 218 passengers were delayed on the tarmac for five hours on flight UX092.

On November 7, 2012, Air Europa flight UX092 was scheduled to depart JFK at 10:05 p.m. destined for Madrid-Barajas Airport. Numerous flights scheduled to depart JFK that evening were delayed extensively due to a severe snowstorm.

Air Europa closed the aircraft door and concluded boarding activities at 11:34 p.m. At 11:54 p.m., the captain announced to passengers that the flight would be delayed due to the adverse weather conditions. According to Air Europa, despite the flight crew’s repeated requests, Air Traffic Control continued to provide no estimated pushback time during the delay. The aircraft continued to hold at the gate, although Air Europa did not open the door or inform passengers that they could deplane while the aircraft remained at the gate. ATC cleared the flight to push back from the gate at 3:31 a.m. The aircraft was then deiced and took off at 4:34 a.m.

Based on these facts, the Enforcement Office found that Air Europa did not adhere to the terms of its contingency plan because it did not provide passengers an opportunity to deplane before the tarmac delay exceeded four hours. The Enforcement Office concluded this deficiency violated 14 CFR 259.4(b)(2) and 49 USC § 41712.

By: Blane Workie

http://www.aireuropa.com/


 

Southwest Airlines, Inc.

Order 2014-5-13
OST-2014-0001 - Violations of 14 CFR 399.84(a), 49 USC § 41712 and Order 2013-7-20

Issued and Served May 29, 2014

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by Southwest Airlines Co. of the full-fare advertising rule, 14 CFR 399.84, and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712. Specifically, the carrier advertised fares for which no seats were available. These violations also constitute violations of the cease and desist provision of Order 2013-7-20. This order directs Southwest to cease and desist from future similar violations of 14 CFR 399.84(a) and 49 USC § 41712 and assesses the carrier $200,000 in civil penalties.

For a period of time in October 2013, Southwest ran a television advertisement on eight networks in the Atlanta designated market area. The ad’s narrator stated: “If you think all airline choices in Atlanta are black and white, you’ve got another thing coming. Discover amazing low sale fares on an airline that is anything but dull. Book now only at Southwest.com with $59 sale fares to places like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Let’s paint this town Southwest.” The advertisement also stated certain conditions on the sale fares, including a 14-day advance purchase requirement, a purchase deadline of November 4, 2013, and travel between November 9, 2013 and March 12, 2014. A thorough investigation by the Enforcement Office revealed that Southwest did not have any seats available for $59 between Atlanta and any of the three quoted cities on any of the applicable travel dates.

By advertising fares for which no seats were available at all, Southwest violated 14 CFR 399.84(a) and engaged in an unfair and deceptive practice in violation of 49 USC § 41712.

By: Blane Workie

http://www.southwest.com


 

Alaska Airlines, Inc.

Order 2014-6-15
OST-2014-0001
- Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR Part 257

Issued and Served June 27, 2014

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by Alaska Airlines, Inc. when it failed to disclose codeshare arrangements as required by 49 USC § 41712(c) and 14 CFR Part 257 during telephone calls regarding airline reservations. These failures also constitute violations of 49 U.S.C. § 41712(a), the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices. The order directs Alaska to cease and desist from future violations of Part 257 and section 41712 and assesses $150,000 in civil penalties.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed a significant lack of compliance by Alaska with section 257.5(b) of the Department's codeshare rule and 49 USC § 41712(c). For a period of time during late 2013, Enforcement Office staff made a number of telephone calls to Alaska and inquired about booking a flight. During these calls, Alaska's reservations agents failed to make the required disclosure regarding codeshare arrangements for the flights in question. Specifically, when discussing flights marketed by Alaska, but operated by its sister carrier, Horizon Air, or its regional partner, Skywest Airlines, Alaska's reservation agents only identified the marketing carrier and did not identify the corporate name of the carrier operating the flight or any other name under which the flight was operated. The telephone calls indicated that Alaska generally failed to inform consumers booking flights involving codeshare arrangements of the identity of the airline that would actually operate the aircraft on which the consumer would be flying.

By: Blane Workie

http://www.alaskaair.com/


 

Delta Air Lines, Inc.

Order 2014-7-7
OST-2014-0001 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84

Issued and Served July 9, 2014

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by Delta Air Lines, Inc. of the full fare advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR 399.84 and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712. It directs Delta to cease and desist from future violations of section 399.84 and section 41712, and assesses the carrier a compromise civil penalty of $100,000.

From November 2012 to February 2014, Delta advertised a number of “Fare Specials” on the homepage of its website. Although the advertised fares were each way fares and required a roundtrip purchase, that condition was not clearly and conspicuously noted. Instead, each fare advertised in the “Fare Specials” section was followed by an asterisk that referred to a disclaimer at the bottom of the list of fares that stated in light-colored fine print that “Fees/restrictions/baggage fees may apply, round-trip purchase required.” The disclosure was also not stated prominently and proximately to the each way fare amount. Instead, the fares linked to a second web page containing a disclosure that the advertised fares were, in fact, each way fares subject to a roundtrip purchase requirement. As such, Delta failed to properly state that the advertised fares were “each way” fares on its homepage as specifically required by section 399.84(b). Further, the disclaimer in fine print provided by Delta at the bottom of the advertisement body was insufficient to provide clear and conspicuous notice of a roundtrip purchase requirement, and the fine print disclaimer in this case was not prominent and proximate to the advertised fare. As such, Delta violated section 399.84(b) and 49 USC § 41712 by not properly disclosing that the advertised fares were “each way” fares on its homepage.

By: Blane Workie

http://www.delta.com/


 

Turkish Airlines (Turk Hava Yollari, A.O.)

Order 2014-7-18
OST-2014-0001 - Violations of 14 CFR 259.5, 14 CFR 259.7, 14 CFR 382.155 and 49 USC §§ 41705 and 41712

Issued and Served July 25, 2014

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by Turkish Airlines (Türk Hava Yollari, A.O.) of 14 CFR 259.5 and 259.7 requiring carriers to provide timely substantive written responses to written consumer complaints and 14 CFR 382.155 requiring carriers to provide timely dispositive written responses to written disability-related air travel complaints alleging a violation of 14 CFR Part 382. A violation of 14 CFR Part 259 is also a violation of 49 USC § 41712, which prohibits carriers from engaging in unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition. A violation of 14 CFR Part 382 constitutes a violation of 49 USC § 41705 and 49 USC § 41712. This order directs THY to cease and desist from future similar violations and assesses a compromise civil penalty of $300,000.

THY is a foreign air carrier based in Istanbul, Turkey, that operates scheduled passenger service to and from the United States using at least one aircraft having a design seating capacity of more than 60 passenger seats. Therefore, THY is subject to the response requirements of 14 CFR Parts 259 and 382. The Department’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings found that since August 23, 2011, the effective date of 14 CFR Part 259 to foreign carriers, THY failed to provide timely responses to a large number of consumer complaints and several disability-related complaints that the Department’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division received directly from consumers and forwarded to the carrier. THY also did not assure the Department that it provided substantive responses to the larger amount of complaints that it received directly from consumers, although such complaints were timely acknowledged. The carrier acknowledged that since rapidly expanding its US presence, it had fallen behind in adequately staffing its customer service department. After being contacted by the Enforcement Office, THY provided responses to the overdue consumer and disability-related complaints that the ACPD had forwarded to the carrier and made significant changes to its procedures for handling consumer complaints, and committed additional resources to ensure future compliance with sections 14 CFR 259.5(b)(11), 14 CFR 259.7(c), and 14 CFR 382.155(d).

By: Blane Workie

http://www.turkishairlines.com



MetJet, Inc. and Michael Heisman Individually

Order 2014-8-8
OST-2014-0001 - Violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR Part 380

Issued and Served August 13, 2014

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by MetJet, Inc. and Michael Heisman, personally, of certain consumer protection provisions of the Department’s public charter regulations. MetJet, under the direction and control of then president and CEO Mr. Heisman, was a public charter operator that sold public charter flights directly to the public. The Respondents failed to properly maintain an escrow account and failed to timely process consumer refunds in violation of 14 CFR Part 380. These activities also constituted an unfair and deceptive practice in violation of 49 USC § 41712. This order directs the Respondents to cease and desist from future similar violations. In addition, this order directs Mr. Heisman, personally, to cease and desist for a period of five years from the date of the issuance of this order from being involved in public charter operations.

The Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedingshas carefully considered the information provided by the Respondents, but continues to believe that enforcement action is warranted. The Enforcement Office and the Respondents have reached a settlement of this matter in order to avoid litigation. Without admitting or denying the violations described above, the Respondents consent to the issuance of this order to cease and desist from future violations of 49 USC § 41712 and 14 CFR Part 380. In addition, Mr. Heisman, personally, consents to cease and desist for a period of five years from the date of the issuance of this order from being involved in public charter operations.

The compromise settlement is appropriate considering the nature and extent of the violations described herein and serves the public interest. It establishes a strong deterrent to future similar unlawful practices by the Respondents and other companies and individuals.

By: Blane Workie

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MetJet


 

Voyageur Travel LLC, formerly d/b/a LDS Travel and Meridian Trips LLC, and Brian Mickelsen

Order 2014-8-9
OST-2014-0001 - Violations of 49 USC 41712 and 14 CFR 399.84, 399.88 and 399.89

Issued and Served August 14, 2014

Consent Order

This consent order concerns advertisements by Voyager Travel LLC, formerly d/b/a LDS Travel and Meridian Trips LLC and Brian Mickelsen, the owner and former member of the LLC, in his personal capacity, that violated the Department's advertising requirements specified in 14 CFR Part 399, and constituted unfair and deceptive trade practices in violation of 49 USC § 41712. An investigation by the Department's Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed that prior to January 26, 2012, Voyager Travel advertised air tour packages in a manner that did not meet Department requirements under Part 399 because the advertisements failed to include all fuel surcharges in the prices advertised, failed to state that the prices were subject to post purchase price increases, and failed to provide appropriate notice of the existence, nature, and amount of other charges and additional taxes and government-imposed fees that were then permitted to be stated separately from the base fare. Voyager Travel's advertisements published on and after January 26, 2012, continued to state that the prices were subject to increases even after final payment. Those advertisements violated 14 CFR 399.84(a), 399.88 and 399.89.

This order directs Voyager Travel and Brian Mickelsen, in his personal capacity, to cease and desist from future violations of 49 USC § 41712 and Part 399 and assesses the company and Mr. Mickelsen, jointly and severally, a compromise civil penalty of $20,000. Mr. Mickelsen is also ordered to cease and desist for a period of ten years from the date of the issuance of this order from engaging in air transportation operations.

The Enforcement Office has carefully considered all of the information available to it, including that provided by Voyager Travel, but continues to believe that enforcement action is warranted. In order to avoid litigation, the Enforcement Office and Voyager Travel and Brian Mickelsen, in his personal capacity, have reached a settlement in this matter. While neither admitting nor denying the above allegations, Voyager Travel and Mr. Mickelsen accept the findings and conclusions stated herein and agree to cease and desist from further violations of 14 CFR 399.84(a), 399.88 and 399.89, and 49 USC § 41712. Mr. Mickelsen also agrees to cease and desist from engaging in air transportation operations as an owner, director, or member of a LLC, ticket agent, air carrier or foreign air carrier, or agent of either, for ten years in order to avoid potential litigation.

Under this order, Voyager Travel LLC and Brian Mickelsen, in his personal capacity, are assessed $20,000 in compromise of potential penalties otherwise assessable under the provisions of 49 USC § 46301. Failure to obey the cease and desist or payment provisions may subject Voyager Travel LLC and Brian Mickelsen, in his personal capacity, to additional enforcement action for the failure to comply with this order. The Enforcement Office believes that the assessment of a civil penalty of $20,000 is appropriate in light of the nature and extent of the violations in question and will provide an effective deterrent to unlawful conduct in the future by Voyager Travel LLC, Mr. Mickelsen, and other sellers of air transportation.

By: Blane Workie


 

China Eastern Airlines Corporation Limited

Order 2014-9-4
OST-2014-0001 - Violations of 49 USC §§ 41301 and 41712

Issued and Served September 5, 2014

Consent Order

This consent order concerns unauthorized foreign air transportation by China Eastern Airlines Corporation Limited in violation of 49 USC § 41301, arising from China Eastern’s marketing and sale of unauthorized codeshare flights operated by another foreign air carrier that did not hold proper authority from the Department. Violations of section 41301 also constitute unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712. This order directs China Eastern to cease and desist from such further violations and assesses a compromise civil penalty of $40,000.

On June 21, 2012, China Eastern and WestJet, a Canadian carrier, entered into a codeshare agreement providing that China Eastern would market WestJet-operated flights within North America under China Eastern’s “MU” flight indicator. Between June 2012 and September 2013, China Eastern marketed certain flights between Canada and the United States operated by WestJet under China Eastern’s code on its website and through the flight schedules in the monthly Flight Guide Worldwide published by the Official Airline Guide. WestJet, as the operating carrier of these flights, did not apply for a statement of authorization from the Department to hold out these codeshare flights in foreign air transportation with the Department, and therefore, is in violation of 14 CFR 212.9(b)(2). By holding out and selling these unauthorized flights, China Eastern violated 49 USC § 41301.

By: Blane Workie

http://www.flychinaeastern.com


 

WestJet

Order 2014-9-3
OST-2014-0001 - Violations of 49 USC §§ 41301 and 41712 and 14 CFR Part 212

Issued and Served September 5, 2014

Consent Order

This consent order concerns unauthorized foreign air transportation by WestJet in violation of 49 USC § 41301 and 14 CFR Part 212, arising from WestJet’s operating of unauthorized codeshare flights marketed by another foreign air carrier without obtaining proper authority from the Department. Violations of section 41301 and Part 212 also constitute unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition in violation of 49 USC § 41712. This order directs WestJet to cease and desist from such further violations and assesses a compromise civil penalty of $50,000.

On June 21, 2012, WestJet and China Eastern Airlines Corporation Limited, a carrier from the People’s Republic of China, entered into a codeshare agreement providing that China Eastern would market WestJet-operated flights within North America under China Eastern’s “MU” flight indicator. Between June 2012 and September 2013, China Eastern marketed certain flights between Canada and the United States operated by WestJet under China Eastern’s code on its website and through the flight schedules in the monthly Flight Guide Worldwide published by the Official Airline Guide. WestJet, as the operating carrier of these flights, did not apply for a statement of authorization from the Department for these codeshare flights in foreign air transportation, and therefore, is in violation of 49 USC § 41301 and 14 CFR 212.9(b)(2).

By: Blane Workie

http://www.westjet.com/


 

Cathay Pacific Airways Limited

Order 2014-10-14
OST-2014-0001 - Violations of 14 CFR 399.84(a) and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served October 17, 2014

Consent Order

This order concerns violations by Cathay Pacific Airways Limited of the full-fare advertising rule, 14 CFR 399.84(a), and the statutory prohibition against unfair and deceptive practices, 49 USC § 41712. It directs Cathay Pacific to cease and desist from future similar violations and assesses the carrier $260,000 in civil penalties.

In response to a consumer complaint, the Enforcement Office investigated the fare advertising on Cathay Pacific’s US customer-facing website. The Enforcement Office found that in May 2014, Cathay Pacific advertised fares in its initial fare matrix that did not include mandatory taxes and fees. Specifically, when consumers searched for fares from non-US points to the United States, the Cathay Pacific website first displayed a fare matrix that did not include carrier surcharges and government imposed fees and taxes. After choosing a flight and proceeding through the booking process, consumers were presented with much higher fares for the same flight. Cathay Pacific admitted to the Enforcement Office that such flights did not include mandatory fees and taxes for a significant period of time because Cathay Pacific did not believe that the full-fare rule applied to fares on flights originating outside the United States. By not advertising the full-fare to be paid by the consumer in the initial fare matrix on its US website, Cathay Pacific violated 14 CFR 399.84(a) and engaged in unfair and deceptive practices in violation of 49 USC § 41712.

By: Blane Workie

http://www.cathaypacific.com


 

Air Canada rouge

Order 2014-10-23
OST-2014-0001 - Violations of 14 CFR Part 259 and 49 USC § 41712

Issued and Served October 28, 2014

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by Air Canada rouge of 14 CFR Part 259 and 49 USC § 41712. 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, (2) would provide customers with food and water within two hours after the aircraft left the gate in the case of a tarmac delay, and (3) would have sufficient resources to implement the carrier’s tarmac delay contingency plan. This order directs Rouge to cease and desist from future similar violations of 14 CFR Part 259 and 49 USC § 41712 and assesses the carrier $90,000 in civil penalties.

An investigation by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings found that Rouge flight AC 1861 diverted to Buffalo Niagara International Airport at 10:09 p.m. on January 11, 2014, while in route to Toronto Pearson International Airport. Flight AC 1861 diverted to BUF due to freezing rain and fog in the Toronto area. Because Rouge expected to quickly refuel and depart from BUF, the carrier did not seek a gate or another disembarkation point to deplane passengers until 1:25 a.m. At 2:36 a.m., flight AC 1861 was assigned a gate and passengers were afforded the opportunity to deplane at 2:50 a.m., 4 hours and thirty-one minutes into the delay. Although passengers were provided with beverages throughout the delay, Rouge did not have adequate snacks on board the aircraft to provide passengers during the delay. As such, passengers were not offered snacks within two hours of the start of the delay.

Based on the facts described above, the Enforcement Office has concluded that Rouge failed to provide passengers with an opportunity to deplane before the tarmac delay exceeded four hours. Furthermore, The Enforcement Office has found that Rouge did not provide food to passengers within two hours after the aircraft arrived at BUF and Rouge did not have sufficient resources available to implement its contingency plan as the carrier did not have adequate snacks on board to distribute to passengers during the delay. Rouge’s failure to adhere to the terms of its contingency plan in this regard violated sections 259.4(b)(2), 259.4(b)(3), and 259.4(b)(7) and 49 USC § 41712.

By: Blane Workie

http://www.aircanada.com/rouge/en/


 

China Eastern Airlines Co., Ltd.

Order 2014-11-14
OST-2014-0001 - Violations of 14 CFR Part 244 and 49 USC § 41708

Issued and Served November 19, 2014

Consent Order

This consent order concerns violations by China Eastern Airlines Co., Ltd. of 14 CFR Part 244 and 49 USC § 41708. Specifically, the carrier failed to file the required tarmac delay data for a lengthy tarmac delay with the Department of Transportation. This order directs China Eastern to cease and desist from future similar violations of 14 CFR Part 244 and 49 USC § 41708 and assesses the carrier $10,000 in civil penalties.

China Eastern is a foreign air carrier that operates scheduled service to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), a large hub airport, using at least one aircraft having a design seating capacity of more than 30 passenger seats. Prompted by a consumer complaint, the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings investigated and found that on February 21, 2014, China Eastern flight MU587 bound for JFK diverted to Washington Dulles International Airport, where it experienced a tarmac delay of 4 hours and 10 minutes. China Eastern, however, failed to timely file the required BTS Form 244 “Tarmac Delay Report” with the Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ Office of Airline Information covering flight MU587 as required by Part 244. The Department first learned of the tarmac delay experienced by flight MU587 after reviewing a complaint it received from a consumer aboard flight MU587 alleging that he experienced a lengthy tarmac delay. China Eastern’s failure to file a Tarmac Delay Report for flight MU587 is a violation of 14 CFR 244.3 and 49 USC § 41708.

By: Blane Workie

http://en.ceair.com/


 

Saudi Arabian Airlines Corporation

Order 2014-11-19
OST-2014-0001 - Violations of 49 USC §§ 41301 and 41712

Issued and Served November 26, 2014

Consent Order

This consent order concerns Saudi Arabian Airlines Corporation’s advertisement and sale of air service between Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and Los Angeles, California, prior to the carrier holding requisite economic authority from the Department in violation of 49 USC § 41301 and 49 USC § 41712. This order directs Saudia to cease and desist from such further violations and assesses a compromise civil penalty of $50,000.

On March 3, 2014, Saudia filed an application in Docket OST-2014-0030 requesting exemption authority to provide scheduled foreign air transportation commencing March 31, 2014, between Saudi Arabia and the United States. According to Saudia’s application, the service would be conducted between Jeddah and Los Angeles three times per week (Monday, Thursday and Saturday). On March 24, 2014, the Department granted and made effective the carrier's application for an exemption to operate its proposed service.

Prior to receiving Departmental economic authority to operate the proposed service, Saudia launched an advertising campaign about its proposed service via a number of public forums, including the carrier’s website, emails, newspapers, magazines, and social media sites. Although Saudia did not operate service on the proposed route prior to receiving authorization, the advertising campaign resulted in significant ticket sales and revenue prior to Saudia having economic authority to operate the route. As such, Saudia’s advertisement and sale of proposed air service between Jeddah and Los Angeles prior to March 24, 2014, violated sections 41301 and 41712.

By: Blane Workie

http://www.saudiairlines.com/

 


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