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British Airways fined $250,000 over rules on fares, liability

October 01, 2012|By Hugo Martin
  • U.S. fines British Airways
U.S. fines British Airways (Andy Rain / European Pressphoto…)

It turns out that those fares to London on British Airways were too good to be true. And now the airlines is paying the price.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has fined the airline based in Waterside, England, $250,000 for failing to include the full cost of its advertised fares and refusing to accept liability for fragile or expensive items lost or damage in flights.

“Consumers deserve fair treatment from airlines when it comes to price advertising and being reimbursed for lost, damaged or stolen baggage,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.

In one violation, the airline advertised fares over the past several months that could be purchased with frequent flier points. But the federal agency said the airline did not make it clear that passengers needed to pay mandatory surcharges that in some cases were as high as $600 per person.

The Department of Transportation also said that British Airways violated an international treaty when it adopted a policy in early 2011 to exempt from liability jewelry, money, silverware,  securities, computers and other valuables that are lost or damaged during a flight.

(The airline ultimately rescinded the policy and replaced it with a conforming set of rules in December 2011, the agency said.)

Also:

Accusations fly between American Airlines, pilots; no talks on tap

Airline profit margins and baggage fees growing

United Airlines to install thinner seats to increase capacity

Follow Hugo Martin on Twitter at @hugomartin

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