Unbelievable! Airline fined for … operating an airline without a license?

Here’s something you don’t see every day: A $30,000 government fine against a company called City Skies for operating an airline without economic authority from the Transportation Department.

In other words, the airline had a little paperwork problem. Here’s the consent order (PDF).

Running an airline without authority is illegal, obviously.
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Delta fined $100,000 for misleading baggage brochure

Federal law says an airline can’t limit its liability for lost, damaged or delayed baggage to less than $3,300 per passenger. But if you’re flying on Delta Air Lines, you might have thought otherwise.

Even after the Transportation Department issued an industry notice (.DOC) last October, reminding airlines that they couldn’t cap their compensation, Delta allegedly distributed a pamphlet that said it “will not authorize any expense reimbursement” when a passenger’s delayed baggage is expected to reach the passenger within 24 hours.

The brochure also said the carrier’s liability is capped at $25 per day “for necessities after the first 24 hours up to a maximum of USD 125 per ticketed customer” while a passenger is away from his or her permanent residence.

The government has fined Delta $100,000 for distributing the brochure months after its advisory. Here’s the consent order (.PDF).
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Maybe the dog ate Falcon Air’s homework

From time to time, a consent order crosses my desk that’s just too funny to not write about. Like today’s ruling (PDF) against Falcon Air Express, a Miami-based airline whose claim to fame is running a wet T-shirt contest on a charter flight to Mexico.

This time Falcon is in trouble for the less glamorous sin of failing to file its paperwork on time. According to the Transportation Department,

Falcon Air failed to file in a timely manner certain financial reports with the Department for half of 2007, all of 2008, and all of 2009, despite numerous warning notices from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

In April 2010, only after being contacted by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings (Enforcement Office), did Falcon Air file all the delinquent reports with BTS.

Talk about tardy.
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Help! My car rental company charged me for running a red light

red lightHere’s a problem travelers are running into more frequently: Months after a trip, they get a bill from their rental company charging them for an unknown traffic violation, plus a handling fee. Often, there’s little recourse.

Or, in Alex Backer’s case, none.

He just received a ticket from Dollar for a violation that supposedly took place back in May, and was told he had no choice but to pay.
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Government issues “precedent-setting” fines against three airlines in Rochester delay incident

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Remember last summer’s overnight tarmac stranding incident in Rochester, Minn.? The government does. This morning it issued what it called a “precedent-setting” series of fines against three airlines in connection with the lengthy ground delay.

The U.S. Department of Transportation fined Continental Airlines and ExpressJet Airlines $100,000 for their roles in the Continental Express flight 2816 delay, in which passengers were trapped on an aircraft for a total of 9 1/2 hours. The government also assessed a civil penalty of $75,000 against Mesaba Airlines, which provided ground handling for the flight, for its part in the incident.

But that’s not the most interesting part of the story.
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The ultimate punishment? Internet travel agency faces record fine for advertising violations

keyboard1The online travel agency Ultimate Fares faces $600,000 in government fines for failing to include taxes and service fees in its airfares, a U.S. Department of Transportation Administrative Law Judge has ruled. The fine would be the largest ever assessed for advertising violations, according to regulators.

Ultimate Fares is no stranger to complaints. You don’t have to look far to find customers who call it “101% fraud” and accusing it of having a “very bad reputation.”

But now the government is taking action.
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A $30,000 fine for filing a late report? Wow, now the Transportation Department is serious

jetstarJetstar Airways is an Australian discount airline that began flying between Sydney, Melbourne and Honolulu in late 2006. The Transportation Department requires the airline to file an annual report detailing disability-related complaints, which it did for 2007 — this January.

The penalty for filing its report a year late? A whopping $30,000.

Seriously.
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