Travel Tweets on Notice: Is That Airfare Real?
In a much longer than 140-character post, the Department of Transportation has reprimanded airlines and travel agencies for not disclosing the newly mandatory taxes and fees in their airfare price tweets.
It seems that some airlines and travel sellers thought that due to the short nature of Twitter, they could get away with posting a price without the taxes and fees disclaimer, or posting a one-way airfare without mentioning that it mus be bought as a round-trip.
Luckily for tweeters, the entire taxes and fees breakdown does not have to be crammed into the 140-character tweet—airlines can add a hyperlink next to the fare, as long as it takes consumers directly to a new window where the extra costs are disclosed. Don't think they can get away with hiding the extra fees in tiny font at the bottom of the page either—if you click on the aforementioned link and then have to scroll or click on more links to get to the fees, it's still a violation of DOT policy. Airlines will also be on the hook for tweeting that a round-trip purchase condition applies if they are advertising one-way fares.
This notice is a stopgap measure until new regulations take place early next year (pending a final review), which will require all airfare ads to display the total final price of the ticket (including taxes, fees, and service charges.)
Hopefully, this means that you will no longer see tweets for an amazing airfare, only to try and book it, and then discover the actual price is hundreds of dollars higher.
Have you noticed any sneaky travel tweets lately? Tell us what you think of the new warning!