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DOT levies $40,000 penalty against US Airways

MINNEAPOLIS – The Transportation Department ordered US Airways on March 8 to pay a $40,000 civil penalty for briefly showing air fares without taxes on its Web site.

Government rules require airline ticket-sellers to either include taxes and items such as security fees in the fares they quote, or to clearly show that additional taxes apply and provide a link that takes the shopper straight to a page showing the taxes.

The wrongly-displayed fares came up on searches for one-way tickets that were sorted by schedule. The Transportation Department said the fares were displayed “for a short period of time,” but it didn’t say when.

The airline told the government it was an inadvertent programming error which it fixed right away. It pointed out that customers still saw the full ticket price including taxes before they bought the ticket. The civil penalty was negotiated between the government and US Airways, which did not admit to any violation.

“When consumers shop for air travel, they have a right to know how much they will have to pay,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a prepared statement. “We will continue to ensure that airlines comply with our price advertising rules.”

In August the Transportation Department issued a $75,000 civil penalty against Continental Airlines Inc. for violations including a failure to display taxes and fees along with base fares. At the same time it issued a $70,000 civil penalty to US Airways after reservations agents failed to tell shoppers that their flight would actually be on a code-share partner.

Shares of US Airways Group Inc. rose 2 cents to $7.45 in midday trading.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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