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Five online ticket agents fined

May 6, 2011 |  4:17 pm

2087-airgorilla1 The U.S. Department of Transportation fined five online ticket agents Friday for selling airline tickets without disclosing to customers the name of the airline operating the flights.

The federal agency announced fines of $50,000 against Fareportal Inc., $45,000 against American Travel Solutions, $30,000 against AirGorilla, $30,000 against Wholesale Travel Center Inc. and $20,000 against the Automobile Club of New York Inc.

Under "code-sharing" agreements, airlines can sell tickets on flights operated by a partner airline. For example, large airlines often sell tickets on flights operated by regional carriers to expand their service into smaller markets.

But under federal rules, airlines and ticket agents must disclose to customers, before they book a trip, if the flight is operated by a code-sharing partner and must disclose the name of that air carrier.

"When passengers buy an airline ticket, they have a right to know which airline will be operating their flight," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.

-- Hugo Martin

Image: AirGorilla's website