During the fall of 2011, AirTran displayed an advertisement on websites promoting $59 one-way fares, said the DOT. Clicking on the advertisement brought consumers to a page on AirTran’s website where routes and prices were displayed.
Details about the taxes and fees were not provided until travelers scrolled to the bottom of the page, where they appeared in fine print. According to DOT rules, clicking on a fare ad must bring shoppers directly to information about taxes and fees.
AirTran was fined $30,000, and must pay an additional $30,000 if the airline commits the same violation within a year.
In mitigation, AirTran stated that the violation was an “unintentional oversight” and that the ad “was not properly vetted before publication.”
Beginning Jan. 26, the DOT will require travel sellers to include the full price, including all taxes and fees, in every advertised fare.