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Posted at 12:18 PM ET, 02/28/2011

DOT fines American over flight vouchers

By Associated Press and Staff Reports

[This post has been updated]

DALLAS -- The government fined American Airlines for failing to tell passengers it costs up to $30 to redeem vouchers they get for giving up seats on oversold flights.

The Transportation Department said Monday it levied a $90,000 civil penalty against American.

It's the first time the government has fined an airline for failing to disclose fees to use the vouchers.

"When passengers volunteer to give up their seat on an oversold flight, they are entitled to be fully compensated - not to find out later that they're getting $30 less," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. "Passengers deserve to be treated fairly when they fly, and especially when they've volunteered to give up their seat because the airline overbooked their flight."

Airlines are allowed to oversell flights on the theory that some passengers won't show up. When there are too many ticketed passengers, airlines must ask for volunteers to give up their seats before bumping people who don't want to get off the plane. Airlines must compensate bumped passengers.

According to DOT. American stopped requiring the fees for tickets purchased by phone
using the vouchers but required travelers to pay the fees at airport counters until last year. Passengers are unable to use the vouchers online, DOT said.

Have you been charged fees for redeeming flight vouches? Post a comment below.

By Associated Press and Staff Reports  | February 28, 2011; 12:18 PM ET
Categories:  Airlines, Aviation  
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Comments

Associated Press, why is "failing to tell" objectionable but the fees are not? Shouldn't the fees themselves be illegal?

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 28, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Agree with getjiggly on this one.

Posted by: DOEJN | February 28, 2011 5:47 PM | Report abuse

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