Hotwire Fined for Deceptive Advertising

Frontier, ATA complaints result in $50,000 fine

Hotwire accepted a $50,000 fine from the Department of Transportation for what the DOT concluded was deceptive advertising, according to a report from Travel Management Daily.

Hotwire will pay half the fine now, and the remainder will be forgiven if there are no additional violations for the next year.

Frontier and American Trans Air had filed complaints about radio ads used by the distressed-inventory Web site, which is owned by Texas Pacific Group and six of the country’s eight largest airlines.

The ads, which ran in several different cities, referred to a specific destination and quoted a fare to that destination, but it didn’t reveal where the flight originated.

Hotwire did not admit wrongdoing, but said it will now include origin-city information.

Frontier and ATA, however, were not completely successful with their Hotwire complaints.

The DOT rejected their contention that Hotwire made “unfairly disparaging references” to the carriers in the ads, in which the interviewer or interviewed traveler contrasted unnamed low-fare competitors with what they described as the more trustworthy and reliable major airlines on Hotwire.

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