DOT Fines Ticket Agent for Violation of Code-Share Disclosure Rules
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), in its continuing effort to protect airline consumers, has fined the on-line ticket agent Flythere4less.com $40,000 for failing to disclose to consumers when flights were being operated under a code-sharing arrangement.
“When passengers buy an airline ticket, they have a right to know which airline will be operating their flight,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We will continue to ensure that airlines and ticket agents comply with our code-sharing rules.”
Under code sharing, an airline will sell tickets on flights that use its designator code but are operated by a separate airline. DOT rules require airlines and ticket agents to disclose to consumers, before they book a flight, if the flight is operated under a code-sharing arrangement. The disclosure must include the corporate name of the transporting carrier and any other name under which the flight is offered to the public. Under a new law, when tickets are purchased on the Internet, code-share information must be easily viewable on the first display of a Web site following a search for flights corresponding to a desired itinerary.
An investigation by the Department’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings revealed that Flythere4less, at least during the latter half of 2010, violated the code-share disclosure rules by failing to disclose that certain flights listed on its Internet site were being operated by a regional carrier on behalf of a major airline. The listings did not display the corporate names of the operating carriers and other names under which the carriers operating the flights do business. Under the order, Flythere4less will pay $20,000 within the next 90 days and an additional $20,000 if it violates the code-sharing rules again in the next year.
The consent order against Flythere4less is available on the Internet at www.regulations.gov, docket DOT-OST-2011-0003.