The DOT has fined fewer airlines this year. Should you be worried?

If it seems as if airlines are getting away with more passenger-unfriendly behavior, maybe it’s because they are.

The Aviation Consumer Protection Division of the Department of Transportation (DOT), which is responsible for enforcing federal consumer-protection regulations, is on track to punish significantly fewer airlines this year, issuing 18 consent orders for $3.1 million in civil penalties. By comparison, the DOT had 29 orders worth $6.4 million for 2016, which included a $1.6 million fine against American Airlines for violating its tarmac delay rules handed down in mid-December. Barring a last-minute flurry of penalties, 2017 will be a much quieter year for the department. Read more “The DOT has fined fewer airlines this year. Should you be worried?”

You’ve never heard of these people, but they’ve changed the way you fly

Their advocacy results in big, embarrassing airline fines. They’ve helped create federal agencies that make air travel safer. And they’ve brought competition and transparency to the skies. Read more “You’ve never heard of these people, but they’ve changed the way you fly”

Does penalizing airlines for customer service infractions do any good?

The Department of Transportation fined airlines $4.5 million in 2016 for infractions ranging from lengthy tarmac delays to failing to compensate passengers for lost luggage, almost double last year’s amount and the highest since 2013.
Read more “Does penalizing airlines for customer service infractions do any good?”

New airline rules yet to be enforced, even as DOT levies record fines

Back in August, you might recall, the Transportation Department adopted a set of tough new consumer-protection rules to help airline passengers. In January, it added even more.
Read more “New airline rules yet to be enforced, even as DOT levies record fines”

Is the government letting airlines off easy? Let’s do the math

The Transportation Department’s latest high-profile fine goes against Comair for violating denied-boarding rules. It’s a big ticket: $275,000, which, while significantly less than the record fine against Spirit Airlines late last year, could be the largest enforcement action for bad bumping practices.

According to the government, an investigation of Comair revealed numerous cases in which the airline failed to solicit volunteers to leave overbooked flights and provide passengers with the appropriate denied boarding compensation.

The DOT’s Aviation Enforcement Office also found that Comair had filed inaccurate reports with DOT on the number of passengers involuntarily denied boarding.

Bad Comair!

Read more “Is the government letting airlines off easy? Let’s do the math”

Get smart. Sign up for the newsletter.