* October 2013 fare sale triggers fine
* Carrier cites error in advertisement
May 29 The U.S. Department of Transportation
said on Thursday it had fined Southwest Airlines a total
of $300,000 for advertising low airfares for which no seats were
A fine of $200,000 stemmed from October 2013 television ads
in the Atlanta area that touted $59 fares for flights to Los
Angeles, New York and Chicago. The federal agency said its
enforcement office found that no seats were available at that
price between Atlanta and those cities on the specified dates.
"By advertising fares for which no seats were available at
all, Southwest violated the full fare advertising rule and
engaged in prohibited unfair and deceptive practices," the
department said in a statement.
Southwest cited an advertising error in the fare sale.
"Unfortunately, the audio portion of the TV advertisement
incorrectly stated three cities that were never intended to be a
part of the $59 sale (New York, Los Angeles and Chicago),"
spokesman Brad Hawkins said in a statement. "As soon as we
became aware of our mistake, we pulled all incorrect
advertisements off the air."
Hawkins also said Southwest honored the $59 ticket price to
the three cities for travelers who requested it after the error
The DOT noted that the latest violation triggered an
additional penalty of $100,000 for Southwest over an order from
July 2013 tied to the federal rule stipulating that any ads
state the entire ticket price. Since Southwest violated the same
rule within a year, it was obligated to pay half of the penalty
from the prior order which had been suspended, the agency said.
Southwest shares were down 0.1 percent to $26.40 in
(Reporting by Karen Jacobs in Atlanta; Editing by James