Rules on Aviation Advertising
The USDOT includes Internet advertising enforcement in this regulation, as indicated by FAQs question IX.15 “How often should a carrier update an Internet advertisement to ensure that a ‘reasonable number of seats is available’ for purchase?”.
The following discussion reviews airTRFX in the context of the USDOT’s answer to FAQ IX.15.
FAQ IX.15 comprises three paragraphs:
FAQ IX.15 paragraph 1:
The rule of thumb for when an advertisement should be updated or removed because a reasonable number of seats is no longer available at the advertised fare depends on several factors. Generally, carriers should be monitoring the rate at which the inventory at the advertised fare is selling. Once the seller determines that a reasonable number of seats is no longer available, it must take prompt action to discontinue the ad, or to modify the ad to make clear to which destinations or date ranges the ad applies.
- Assuming that fare content displayed in airTRFX can be considered an “ad”, airTRFX removes a certain fare once the system detects that the fare is no longer the lowest fare available for the given route on a specific date of travel (and duration of travel for round trip price display).
- If the airline displays in its booking engine the number of seats remaining for a flight at a given price, airTRFX can remove a fare once the number of tickets available for the flight falls below a threshold defined by the airline.
FAQ IX.15 paragraph 2:
“Prompt action” will depend on the type of advertisement. If it is a print advertisement, the print ad must be pulled as soon as practically possible. If the advertisement is an Internet banner ad on the carrier’s own website, the ad must be pulled as soon reasonably possible, which should be quickly, e.g., within 24 hours or less. If the Internet banner ad is on another website, the Enforcement Office realizes it may take more time to pull that ad, but such an ad should be pulled or modified as soon as possible (in no case in more than a day or two). In Internet fare listings the available fare must be updated immediately. For fare specials that are posted on Twitter or Facebook, as soon as there is no longer a reasonable number of seats available at those fares, the Twitter feed and Facebook feed should be updated to reflect that those fares have sold out, or the Twitter posting or Facebook posting should be removed from the carrier’s feed.
- Again, assuming that fare content displayed in airTRFX is an “ad”, it would likely qualify as either a “banner ad on the carrier’s own website” or an “Internet fare listing”
- For the former, an inaccurate fare advertised requires the advertiser to revise or remove the fare within 24 hours; for the latter, an inaccurate fare listed requires immediate revision or renewal.
- Any fare displayed in airTRFX that proves to be inaccurate (i.e. a fare seen in airTRFX differs from the fare seen on the subsequent page in the booking engine) is instantly replaced by the new fare seen in the booking engine Fare Selection Page.
FAQ IX.15 paragraph 3:
When evaluating whether a fare advertisement is updated at a reasonable time, the Enforcement Office will look at the advertisement medium, the rate at which the advertised fare sold, the efforts of the carrier to monitor the availability of the fare and the efforts of the carrier to remove and/or modify the fare as soon as the fare is no longer reasonably available.
- Because each fare viewed in the booking engine is also viewed by airTRFX and collected if the lowest fare for a flight has changed, EveryMundo is continuously monitoring each fare and will remove or modify an inaccurate fare immediately once detected or based on any criteria determined by the airline.
- Given the adherence of airTRFX to the criteria set forth in the answer to the USDOT FAQ IX.15, EveryMundo concludes that airTRFX is fully compliant with the pertinent sections of EAPP #2, more specifically Title 14 CFR 399.84.1.