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An all things aviation blog

AirTran Airlines today was assessed a $100,000 civil penalty of which $50,000 has been deferred because of deceptive advertising. From September to December last year AirTran ran an advertising campaign touting its new credit card that would give out two free round-trip tickets if the minimum spend was reached.  While AirTran did not charge any fees on those tickets, they failed to mention that the consumer would have to pay the 9/11 security fee which is $2.50 per flight number up to $10.00 per ticket on the advertising.

While the order didn’t mention how the DOT became aware of this, I can only assume some of people who got the card, met the several thousand dollar minimum spend, and redeemed free tickets filled DOT complaints about the 9/11 fee. While it is a nominal fee, airlines are compelled to disclose the fee in their advertising which AirTran here failed to do. For that they get to visit and hand over 50K. The other 50k fine will be waived if AirTran doesn’t commit any more advertising violations in the next year.

Happy Travels!


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