USA: DOT fines Alitalia for deceptive practices

Michael Wukoschitz's picture

Following a complaint from two Alitalia passengers whose flights were canceled, the Department’s Aviation Enforcement Office investigated the carrier’s refusal to pay cash compensation to the passengers. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) now fined  Alitalia USD 125,000 for providing inaccurate information on its website regarding its policy on compensation to passengers on delayed and cancelled flights. 

While Alitalia’s website displayed a copy of the carrier’s General Conditions of Carriage (GCC) as required by Department rules, and specifically adopted rules required by the European Union (EU) regarding compensation for delayed and cancelled flights, the carrier claimed a right to refuse such compensation, citing provisions in its tariff that exempted travel from the U.S. from the terms of the GCC. 

The consent order finds that the inconsistent statements of policy contained in the tariff and the GCC were an unfair and deceptive trade practice in violation of U.S. law.  The order directs the carrier to revise its tariff and GCC to reflect the carrier’s actual policy regarding compensation in cases of delayed or cancelled flights to or from the United States and orders the carrier to cease and desist from further violations of the law prohibiting airlines from engaging in unfair and deceptive practices.

Source: DOT press release 27-13 of March 28, 2013

Consent order available at www.regulations.gov, docket DOT-OST-2012-0040

X