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United Airlines fined for advertising violations

18-Jan-2010 9:30 AM

United Airlines was fined (15-Jan-2010) USD30,000 by the Department of Transportation (DoT), a civil penalty for failing to disclose on its website the full price of air fares when it did not include the 7.5% Federal ticket tax in the initial search results page for about 60 hours. The fine follows a USD175,000 DoT penalty against Continental, Mesaba and ExpressJet for tarmac delays. It is also the second such fine against United in the past five months. The latest fine also covered the fact that United published one-way fares without making it clear they were only available for roundtrip flights. Under DoT rules, all fares published by airlines must include the full price to be paid by consumers, with the only exceptions being government taxes and fees that are assessed on a per-passenger basis. Because the excise tax is based on a percentage of the ticket price and is not a per-passenger charge, DoT rules require that it be incorporated into the advertised fare.