LAXintl
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DOT Fines Aeroflot – Consumer Violations

Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:27 pm

The DOT entered into a $60,000 civil consent decree against Aeroflot for various consumer violations.

DOT found that Aeroflot failed to properly advertise and list fares on its website.
Flight searches on the carriers website displayed a fare matrix that listed outbound and inbound fares but failed to include required additional taxes and fees. Only when consumer reached payment screen were they presented with the full cost of their selected itinerary. Similarly Aeroflot failed to advertise its fares as entire price to be paid but instead only showed base fare values.

Additionally DOT discovered that for a 7 week period in 2012 the Aeroflot website failed to include the commitment allowing consumers to hold quoted fares without payment or cancellations within 24-hours as per DOT regulations.


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PHX787
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RE: DOT Fines Aeroflot – Consumer Violations

Wed Sep 05, 2012 3:59 pm

Ok my first question: How can the DOT fine a foreign airline? But given that, if Aeroflot doesn't pay up, could they be barred from entering American airspace?
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LAXintl
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RE: DOT Fines Aeroflot – Consumer Violations

Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:19 pm

Being foreign does not exclude one from following the laws of the land where you do business. Everything from labor law, environmental law, to consumer protections laws apply to do those doing business in the US. Do you think AA, DL, or UA are exempt from laws in Japan, UK, or Brazil somehow?

Anyhow Aeroflot will pay – it’s a consent decree – they already agreed to the amount. But theoretically if someone did not pay, I’m sure the government can get a court judgment, put liens on their holdings, or even take it out of taxes.
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Aeroflot777
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RE: DOT Fines Aeroflot – Consumer Violations

Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:24 pm

Cool catch.

I expect this to be trivial and a non-issue. Up to the recent mandate, US airlines were guilty of the same story. When the mandate warranted all fees to be included in the matrix, airlines seemed to not have any engineering issues to get this done. I expect SU will oblige and take care of this pretty easily.

The title is definitely a bit over-dramatic.

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roseflyer
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RE: DOT Fines Aeroflot – Consumer Violations

Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:59 pm

I am not surprised to see another international airline caught by the DOT’s fare rules. I support the DOT forcing all airlines to have the same pricing system. The way that airlines were pulling taxes and fees out of fare prices was non-standard and confusing to the customer. It is the airline’s responsibility to comply with the regulations for displaying prices and allowing 24 hour cancellation. It can cause difficulty if the airline continues to price fares differently in other countries, but that is the cost of doing business.

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 1):
Ok my first question: How can the DOT fine a foreign airline? But given that, if Aeroflot doesn't pay up, could they be barred from entering American airspace?

The DOT can suspend Aeroflot’s ability to sell tickets. They don’t have the authority to revoke landing rights based on fare rule violations, but if Aeroflot is banned from selling tickets in the US, they might as well end service.
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DocLightning
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RE: DOT Fines Aeroflot – Consumer Violations

Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:07 pm

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 1):

Ok my first question: How can the DOT fine a foreign airline? But given that, if Aeroflot doesn't pay up, could they be barred from entering American airspace?

They can fine foreign airlines who want to operate into, out of, and over the U.S.

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 4):
They don’t have the authority to revoke landing rights based on fare rule violations, but if Aeroflot is banned from selling tickets in the US, they might as well end service.

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moo
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RE: DOT Fines Aeroflot – Consumer Violations

Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:25 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
Being foreign does not exclude one from following the laws of the land where you do business.

Interesting how that doesn't seem to be accepted when it's the ETS being discussed  
 
LAXintl
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RE: DOT Fines Aeroflot – Consumer Violations

Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:31 pm

Quoting moo (Reply 6):
Interesting how that doesn't seem to be accepted when it's the ETS being discussed

Because its not apples and apples.

EU ETS would tax US airlines doing business in the US.

No one is saying EU can't tax or manage how it wants to deal with European airspace, however it another thing to have jurisdiction and regulatory powers over flights far from its borders.


In this US DOT case, Aeroflot failed to abide by local regulations on how it advertises, prices, and manages passenger bookings inside the US, not for something it maybe did in Canada, Mexico, or other nations.
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moo
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RE: DOT Fines Aeroflot – Consumer Violations

Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:37 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 7):

No, they wouldn't be taxing US airlines in the US, that's ridiculous FUD and just typical of the rubbish spouted about the ETS.

If the flight doesn't originate, stop or terminate in the EU, and if it's not a EU airline, then the flight won't be taxed. If the flight originates, stops or terminates in the EU, or if the airline is EU based, then it will be taxed.

So yes, it is taxing something thats happening in the EU. Foreign airlines not flying into or out of the EU won't be affected - just like how airlines that don't fly into and out of the US aren't subject to DOT fines.

If an airline doesn't like it, stay out of EU destinations.
 
LAXintl
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RE: DOT Fines Aeroflot – Consumer Violations

Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:46 pm

Quoting moo (Reply 8):
So yes, it is taxing something thats happening in the EU. Foreign airlines not flying into or out of the EU won't be affected - just like how airlines that don't fly into and out of the US aren't subject to DOT fines.

A LHR-LAX flight might be 5,500nm, but merely 750 of that is in EU airspace.

ETS would tax the entire 5,500 journey over places like Canada and the US, not merely the distance within EU borders.

This would be as if the DOT was telling European airlines how many crew members they must have, the hours its employees may work, or what wage they must receive since the flight happens to have a US destination.


Again this DOT fine against Aeroflot is due to matters wholly within US borders, not business practices outside.
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Aesma
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RE: DOT Fines Aeroflot – Consumer Violations

Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:03 pm

60000$ seems a low amount not worthy of the time of the DOT.
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roseflyer
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RE: DOT Fines Aeroflot – Consumer Violations

Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:47 pm

Quoting Aesma (Reply 10):
60000$ seems a low amount not worthy of the time of the DOT.

It probably is so low since Aeroflot does not sell that many tickets to the US.

Royal Jordanian got a $70,000 fine while Egyptair and Royal Air Maroc got a $60,000 fine.

Most airlines are getting the fine because the DOT requires a fee disclosure on the first screen where a fare is quoted for a specific flight.
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