The DOT will start 2023 with a big fine

The Department of Transportation says airlines and other travel companies were hit with $8.55 million in consumer-protection fines in 2022, the DOT’s highest total for a single year. 

And another sizeable penalty is coming.  

The DOT said that its Office of Aviation Consumer Protection will issue an order this month with a civil penalty of more than $1 million. The department did not name the offender or the infraction.

Among the 13 fines in 2022 were six announced on Nov. 14 against airlines. Totaling $7.25 million, those fines were for pandemic-time violations of refund rules. The airlines fined were Frontier, Air India, TAP Portugal, Aeromexico, El Al and Avianca. 

The department subsequently fined a seventh airline, Canada’s Swoop, $175,000 for not promptly refunding money for flights it canceled early in the pandemic. 

Another noteworthy fine in 2022 was levied against online travel company FlightHub Group. The Canada-based company was fined $300,000 last February for alleged violations by, its OTA that sells travel to Americans. The DOT said JustFly misrepresented airfares, cancellation charges and bag fees. The fine is the largest the DOT has ever levied against a travel agency.

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