The National Trust Tours brochure for its upcoming Odyssey of Ancient Civilizations — a seven-night cruise through Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece — advertises an “all-inclusive” itinerary. And indeed, the $4,195 price for an ocean-view stateroom covers meals, tours and “enhanced” services, such as a flight insurance policy. “On travel brochures, the small print makes a big difference”
John Wieroniey made a wrong turn while he was driving in Prague recently. He blamed his onboard navigation system, which had directed him to a pedestrian zone.
“How to avoid a traffic “shakedown””
Government fines against airlines for consumer rule violations are on track to hit a six-year low as the U.S. Department of Transportation’s enforcement actions shift from punishment to preventing infractions. With only a few weeks left in 2014, the DOT has issued 23 consent orders that assess $2.6 million in penalties — $4.5 million less than last year. That’s the same number as in 2009.
“Federal government wraps up quiet year for traveler protections”
Although the U.S. Department of Transportation fined seven airlines a total of $1.7 million last year for violating its controversial tarmac-delay rule, most of it went straight to the U.S. Treasury. Why isn’t the money awarded to the passengers who sat on planes for hours before taking off?
“Who really benefits when airlines are penalized?”
A more activist Transportation Department, which set a record in 2011 for the number of fines it issued against airlines for violating aviation consumer protection rules, appears to have maintained its momentum this past year.
In 2012, the Department issued 49 fines for consumer rule violations and assessed $3,610,000 in penalties, exceeding the previous record of 47 fines and $3,264,000 in penalties issued in 2011.
Among its most significant actions: policing new rules that require airlines and travel agencies to quote a full fare and disclose baggage fees, and fining the first foreign airline for a tarmac delay.
“Consumers deserve to be treated fairly when they fly,” says Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who called protecting air travelers’ rights “a high priority.”
“Government set record for airline fines in 2012 — is that good news for passengers?”