DOT Fines Three Middle East Airlines for Violating Consumer Protection Rules
By David Cogswell
August 21, 2012 10:00 PM
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) fined three airlines from the Middle East or North Africa, including Royal Jordanian Airlines, EgyptAir and Royal Air Maroc, for violating the department’s expanded airline passenger protection rules that took effect in January.
Royal Jordanian Airlines was fined $70,000 for violating the rule on full-fare advertising and the rule requiring the disclosure of fees for baggage. EgyptAir was assessed $60,000 for violating rules requiring the disclosure of fees for baggage and the inclusion of assurances in its customer service plan allowing consumers to cancel a reservation without penalty for 24 hours after they book a flight. Royal Air Maroc was fined $60,000 for violating the rule requiring the disclosure of fees for baggage. Each carrier was also ordered to cease and desist from further violations. The department discovered the violations during its ongoing review of carrier websites to ensure compliance with its consumer protection rules.
“Airline passengers deserve to be treated fairly when they fly, and that means knowing the full price of their trip, including charges for checking baggage, as well as being given the opportunity to cancel a reservation without penalty for 24 hours after booking,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. DOT requires all advertisements that include airfares to state the entire price.
Prior to a provision of the rule that took effect Jan. 26, advertised fares were not required to include certain government-imposed taxes as long as these additional charges were clearly disclosed in the ad. Under the new rule, all government taxes and fees must be incorporated into the fare. The rule applies to both U.S. and foreign airlines as well as ticket agents.