The U.S. Department of Transportation announced a hefty fine of $200,000 on Southwest Airlines Co. for the controversial and misleading advert that went on air in October last year.
In a flight ticket promotion, the Southwest Airlines announced a fare of $59 in two of its regular routes. It is the second time in 10 months that the U.S. Department of Transportation has slammed the Southwest Airlines for violation the agency’s fair rule for promotion and advertising.
In addition, Southwest must pay $100,000 from a previous fine for the same type of violations. The DOT last July had suspended that penalty upon Southwest’s pledge to correct the violations. In a consent order with Southwest, the DOT said the Dallas-based airline had engaged in “unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition.”
According to the latest statements of Southwest Airlines spokeswoman Brandy King, “the audio portion of the TV advertisement incorrectly stated three cities that were never intended to be a part of the $59 sale … As soon as we became aware of our mistake, we pulled all incorrect advertisements off the air.”
Despite the error, “the sale provided significant savings to consumers in Atlanta and across the country — with more than 300,000 consumers saving millions of dollars,” King said. She said “Southwest did honor the $59 fare for any consumer who called reservations” requesting $59 tickets to New York, Los Angeles and Chicago out of Atlanta.
In addition, Southwest must pay $100,000 from a previous fine for the same type of violations. The DOT last July had suspended that penalty upon Southwest’s pledge to correct the violations.