The Department of Transportation doesn’t care that 140 characters just isn’t enough space for all that fine print.
The federal agency fined budget air carrier Spirit Airlines $50,000 Monday for a June advertising campaign on Twitter that promoted $9 one-way fares. The offending Tweets did not disclose that the fares required a mandatory, round-trip purchase or that additional taxes and fees would be applied to the deal.
“Serious implications for airline,” airline and travel industry analyst @hharteveldt tweeted.
Fees and taxes were disclosed once readers clicked through to Spirit’s Web site from the link in the Tweets, but exact amounts were not disclosed until users clicked to a second page on the landing site.
“Consumers have a right to know the full price they will be paying when they buy an airline ticket,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a news release. “We expect airlines to treat their passengers fairly, and we will take enforcement action when they violate our price advertising rules.”
A spokesperson for Spirit was not immediately available for comment Wednesday morning.
“Gov should charge extra if Spirit pays online,” Jason Clampet tweeted, making a lighthearted reference to the fees airlines have added in recent years in a bid to raise revenue.
Photo by PhillipC