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False Advertising: Another Prime Example of Why the DOT is Annoyed with Airlines

May 30, 2014 at 3:25 PM | by | ()

We're not sure how cynical you are when it comes to airlines and their motivations/intentions, but we've got to believe that the Department of Transportation is getting pretty fed up.

Yesterday, it was announced that the DOT has fined Southwest Airlines for advertising false fares that didn't exist. The DOT caught Southwest in a lie when it found that none of the flights touting $59 fares actually offered seats at that price. In other words, it was your classic bait-and-switch sales pitch.

The frustration has to be mounting for the DOT, who made it clear last week that it wants airlines to start being more upfront about the true price of a flight. Bait-and-switch advertising, obviously, is exactly the opposite approach. One positive is that, unlike last week, when airlines threatened to charge an additional fee if lawmakers forced them to be upfront about their additional fees, Southwest kinda sorta admitted it was wrong, saying it was a mistake and blaming the mix up on a "flawed review of the ad copy."

The DOT has fined Southwest $200,000 as well as an additional $100,000 for a similar offense last year. The fine is a drop in the bucket for a large corporation, for sure, but at least the DOT is on top of its game and catching things like this. From the looks of the past few weeks, it's refreshing to see that the DOT has our backs as consumers.

[Photo: Southwest]

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