The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) reports it fined the ticket agent JTB USA, Inc., $60,000 for failing to adequately disclose to consumers when flights were being operated by a different airline than the one marketing their flight through a code-sharing agreement. DOT ordered the company to cease and desist from further violations.
“When passengers buy an airline ticket, they have a right to know which airline will be operating their flight,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “I hope this penalty sends the message that DOT will continue to take enforcement action when we find violations of our rules.”
Under DOT code-sharing rules, an airline can sell tickets on flights that use its designator code but are operated by a separate airline. DOT require airlines and ticket agents to disclose to consumers, before they book a flight, if the flight is operated under a code-sharing arrangement. The disclosure must include the corporate name of the transporting carrier and any other name under which the flight is offered to the public, DOT said.
During January and February this year, DOT’s Aviation Enforcement Office staff, as part of a review of larger ticket agents’ compliance with the code-sharing disclosure rule, made a number of test calls to JTB USA and inquired about booking a flight. During each of the calls, JTB USA reservations agents failed to disclose the corporate name of the operating carrier.