United States Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a consent order against Deutsche Lufthansa that had incorrectly collected a tax that doesn’t apply for non-revenue tickets (awards).
The tax amount itself was close to immaterial ($17.80 per ticket). Lufthansa was blaming “software error” and that only one passenger had complained about it.
Here’s the consent order:
There is no such a thing as a “software error”. Lufthansa or their subcontractor just hadn’t properly programmed how taxes on these award tickets are collected. The airline had, however, remitted these incorrectly collected taxes to the government.
The DOT issued a small fine of $50,000 of which half is payable as a reminder that airlines should not collect taxes that either not exist or shouldn’t have been collected in the first place.