DOT Fines American Airlines, Delta Air Lines And Frontier For Violating Consumer Protection Rules

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The U.S. Depart of Transportation (DOT) fined on Friday American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Frontier for violating number of consumer protection rules.

DOT Fines American Airlines Delta Air Lines Frontier

American Airlines had been slow processing refund (surprise!), Delta Air Lines had again filed fake mishandled luggage numbers with the DOT and Frontier had violated oversale and disability rules.

Here’s the DOT press release:

DOT Concludes Investigations of Three Airlines Regarding Violations of Airline Consumer Protection Rules

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today fined Frontier Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines for violating the Department’s airline consumer protections rules.  DOT fined Frontier Airlines $400,000 for violating the Department’s oversales and disability rules, American Airlines $250,000 for failing to make timely refunds to passengers, and Delta Air Lines $200,000 for filing inaccurate baggage reports to the Department. 

The Department found that Frontier failed to seek volunteers before bumping passengers involuntarily, failed to provide bumped passengers the required written notice describing their rights, and failed to provide proper compensation to passengers in a timely manner, in violation of DOT rules.  In addition, Frontier failed to provide passengers with a disability prompt and adequate wheelchair assistance in enplaning and deplaning aircraft and moving within the terminal, and did not adequately respond to complaints filed by passengers with disabilities. 

The Department found that American failed to process refund requests in a timely manner, in violation of DOT rules. 

Delta was fined for underreporting to the Department the number of mishandled baggage reports it received from passengers.  The underreporting made Delta’s ranking in the Department’s Air Travel Consumer Report seem better than it was at various times.

Here’s the American Airlines consent order:

Download (PDF, 179KB)

Here’s the Delta Air Lines consent order:

Download (PDF, 198KB)

Here’s the Frontier consent order:

Download (PDF, 270KB)

Conclusion

The fines are about double what I have seen previously DOT assessing for violations. If only they would add at least one zero to these amounts and make the airlines to pay them in full (and not to discount by 50%).

I just want to remind readers to file those DOT complaints when airlines fail to provide service that they are required to. When enough do, they fine the airlines. It is not the fine itself but the negative publicity that comes with DOT fines that hopefully make these airlines to think twice before continuously violating them.

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