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Foreign Air Carrier Fined by DOT for Violations of Parts 259 and 399

Patrick R. Rizzi

Patrick R. Rizzi,

Washington, D.C.

16 May 2012
The U.S. DOT has imposed a civil penalty on a foreign air carrier for $80,000 for violations of relatively new rules relating to length tarmac delay contingency plans, customer service plans, and fees for optional services.  See DOT Order here.  DOT Order 2012-5-4.
Foreign Air Carrier Fined by DOT for Violations of Parts 259 and 399

In April 2011, the DOT issued a series of expansive consumer-related regulations.  FinalRule.  The new regulations included provisions requiring “covered carriers” to adopt, adhere to, and post on their respective websites contingency plans for lengthy tarmac delays and customer service plans.  14 C.F.R. §§ 259.4, 259.5, 259.6.  In addition, covered carriers are required to prominently disclose their fees for optional services on their respective websites, with a clear and conspicuous hyperlink on the homepage that would take the consumer directly to a page or place on a page where such fees are disclosed.  14 C.F.R. § 399.85(d).  For foreign carriers, websites marketed to U.S. consumers are encompassed by these new requirements.  The effective date for these rules was August 23, 2011.

In this case, the DOT concluded that the foreign carrier failed to post its tarmac delay contingency plan and customer service plan on its website (marketed to U.S. consumers) by the effective date of the new rules.  According to the DOT, the foreign carrier also failed to provide a clear, conspicuous hyperlink from its website homepage to a list of its fees for optional services.  As a result of these failures, the DOT determined that the foreign carrier had violated Parts 259 and 399 of its regulations, as well as the statutory prohibition on unfair and deceptive practices in 49 U.S.C. § 41712.  The DOT imposed a civil penalty of $80,000 on the airline for these violations.

Patrick R. Rizzi

Patrick R. Rizzi,

Washington, D.C.

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