News Digest DOT 153-16
DOT Fines Frontier Airlines for Violating Full-Fare Advertising Rule. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has fined Frontier Airlines $60,000 for violating the Department’s full-fare advertising rule and ordered the carrier to cease and desist from further violations. In September 2015, Frontier displayed fare advertisements via email, the airline’s website, and social media in which the advertised base fares (without taxes and fees) were displayed in the same size font as the total fare, which included taxes and fees. DOT prohibits airlines from presenting the charges included within a single total price in the same or larger size as the total fare to prevent consumer confusion about the total price they have to pay. In addition, in Frontier’s email advertisement, the subject line only displayed the base fare (“a buck”), in violation of the DOT requirement that charges included within the single total price may not be false or misleading and may not be displayed prominently. The consent order against Frontier is available at www.regulations.gov, docket DOT-OST-2016-0002. Contact: Caitlin Harvey: (202) 366-4570, email@example.com.
DOT Fines JetBlue Airways for Violating Bumping Compensation Rules. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today fined JetBlue Airways $40,000 for violating federal rules protecting passengers who are denied boarding against their will, or “bumped,” on oversold flights. The airline was also ordered to cease and desist from future similar violations. This consent order is the result of a finding by the Department’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings that in December 2015, JetBlue failed to provide $1,350 to twelve passengers who were denied boarding involuntarily on international flights, as promised in its contract of carriage, “Customer Bill of Rights,” and customer service plan. In addition, the amount that JetBlue paid to these passengers was less than the amount required by DOT rules. The Enforcement Office also found that JetBlue failed to inform the passengers of their right to receive cash compensation instead of a travel voucher and failed to furnish a written notice to passengers. The consent order is available at www.regulations.gov, docket number DOT-OST-2016-0002. Contact: Caitlin Harvey: (202) 366-4570, firstname.lastname@example.org.
DOT Fines Delta Air Lines for Failing to File Tarmac Delay Incident Reports on Time. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has fined Delta Air Lines $40,000 for failing to file in a timely manner required incident reports for five domestic flights that experienced tarmac delays longer than three hours. The carrier was also ordered to cease and desist from future similar violations. The Department uses incident reports to assess whether a tarmac delay rule violation may have occurred and whether a more detailed investigation is warranted. None of these cases violated the Department’s tarmac delay rule, as each fell within the scope of that rule’s safety, security, or air traffic control exceptions. The consent order is available at www.regulations.gov, docket DOT-OST-2016-0002. Contact: Caitlin Harvey: (202) 366-4570, email@example.com.
PHMSA Issues Guidance on Best Practices for Identifying and Verifying High Consequence Pipeline Areas. Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued an Advisory Bulletin to owners and operators of gas pipelines to provide guidance on how to identify and periodically confirm high-consequence pipeline areas. The advisory also recommends operators add a buffer zone to an area of potential impact to help ensure proper high consequence area identification. The identification guidelines rely on pipeline-specific information relating to the location, size, and operating characteristics of a line, as well as the identification of structures, specified sites, and their intended usage along the pipeline route. Read the advisory bulletin in the Federal Register here. Contact for media: Allie Aguilera (202)366-4831.
PHMSA Proposes to Harmonize Hazardous Materials Regulations for Air Transport with International Standards. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) today issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would align the U.S. Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) with international standards for the air transport of hazmat. The proposals in this rule would amend certain special provisions, packaging requirements for certain materials, quantity limits for lithium batteries carried on an aircraft by passengers for personal use, and notification requirements for pilots regarding the contents of hazardous materials onboard an aircraft. Review the details of the NPRM in the rulemaking docket here. Contact for media: Allie Aguilera 202-366-4831.