Southwest Fined $200,000 for Deceptive TV Ads

Southwest Fined $200,000 for Deceptive TV Ads
Jim West/Alamy
DALLAS -- Southwest Airlines is being fined $200,000 for advertising a fare sale too good to be true.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said Thursday that in TV ads last October the airline promised flights from Atlanta to New York, Chicago and Los Angeles for just $59 -- but didn't make any seats available at that price.

The government said that Southwest's ads were deceptive and violated rules on advertising of airline fares.

Southwest (LUV) was also required to pay an extra $100,000 that had been suspended after a similar offense last year.

The Transportation Department said airlines have long known that as part of rules governing fare advertising they must have a "reasonable number" of seats available at the advertised price. In October, Southwest ran ads on eight Atlanta stations in which the narrator told viewers, "Discover amazing low sale fares" of $59 "to places like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago."

The department said it checked and found that Southwest had no seats for $59 to those three cities on any of the travel dates listed in the ad.

Southwest said that it was all a mistake -- that those three cities were never intended to be part of the Atlanta fare sale but wound up in the advertisement after a flawed review of the ad copy.

"As soon as we became aware of our mistake, we pulled all incorrect advertisements off the air," said spokesman Brad Hawkins.

The airline said that it honored the $59 fare to the three cities for consumers who called its reservations center and asked for that price.


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Basics Of The Stock Market

Stock Market 101 - everything you need to know but were afraid to ask!

View Course »

Managing your Portfolio

Keeping your portfolio and financial life fit!

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

Comments

Filter by:
Cindy

I fly Southwest to Florida. Sometimes, I can get a good price and sometimes I can't.
But the convenience to fly out of Long Island is very nice. So it's worth it to me.

May 30 2014 at 4:56 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Cindy

I fly Southwest to Florida. Sometimes, I can get a good price and sometimes I can't.
But the convenience to fly out of Long Island is very nice.

May 30 2014 at 4:55 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
svjustice

They're just as shady as their dishonest partner, $eaWorld. Birds of a feather flock together.

May 30 2014 at 4:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tcroof

if that's the case then all companies adds are lies,only one example, look at all of Taco Bells pictures, have you ever gotten anything that resembles that add, you lucky to find the cheese and they aren't the only ones.

May 30 2014 at 4:11 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Buckingham's

Shameful.

May 30 2014 at 11:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mdennish

Hmmm......I make several million and I am only fined $300,00 thousand for doing something illegal. WOW, I have truly suffered!

May 30 2014 at 10:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mdennish

Hmmm......I make several million and I am only fined $300,00 thousand for doing something illegal. WOW, the I have truly suffered!

May 30 2014 at 10:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Craig

It is the same old Bait and switch, Some young Yupee most likey came up with the idea and did not look at History. If you are over 55 you know the route, Car dealers did it all the time. If it is to good to be true it is not true

May 30 2014 at 7:29 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Craig's comment
shellbell2568

I agree Craig. I also want to point out that Southwest pays out $300,000 BUT probably made approx. 2.1 million dollars (educated guess here but I think you get the idea) because of the deceptive ads.

May 30 2014 at 7:54 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply