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