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Steven Frischling
Live: HVN
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Steven Frischling, aka: Fish, is globe hopping professional photographer, airline emerging media consultant working with large global airlines and founder of The Travel Strategist. Fish has racked up more than 1,000,000 miles since he started to track his mileage in 2005.

Fish's travel tends to be less than leisurely, including flying from New York to Basrah, Iraq, for six hours; Hong Kong for eight hours, Kuwait City for two hours and traveling around the world in 3.5 days to shoot a series of photo assignments in 4 cities and 4 countries on 3 separate continents.

Fish grew up at the end of New York's JFK International Airport's Runway 4R/22L, which probably explains his enjoyment of watching planes, fly overhead. When not shooting photos or traveling Fish designs camera bags, hones is expertise on airline security and spends his time at home cheering for the Red Sox with his 3 kids 102 yards from the ocean.

DOT Slaps Spirit Airlines With Fines For Tweets

For some time the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has been monitoring the social media activities of airlines to ensure that airlines fully disclose fares up front to travelers.  Under DOT regulations any far, including promotional fares, must disclose taxes and fees up front. While DOT fare disclosure eats into Twitter’s 140-character message, regulations for airline fare transparency applies to all mediums.


Spirit Airlines is known for it tacky advertising, charging fees for carry on bags, seats that don’t recline and customer service on par with the customer experience you might experience on a weekend get away at San Quentin.


Back in June Spirit Airlines ran a US$9 one-way fare special for flights from Los Angeles that failed to disclose that there were additional taxes, fees and restrictions, such as the purchase of round-trip travel being required.


Under DOT regulations the Tweet needed to disclose that taxes, fees and restrictions applied in addition to the US$9 one-way fare.  While the Spirit Airlines additional taxes, fees and restrictions were available on Spirit’s website, it required customers to click a second link to learn of the extra expense on top of the US$9 fare. Requiring a link to be followed to find out that taxes, fees and restrictions apply is considered deceptive marketing by the DOT, having fees buried behind a second link on the website is exceptionally deceptive.


Spirit Airline claims that the Tweets failing to adhere to the DOT’s regulations was an oversight … however the airline failed to disclose there were additional taxes, fees and restrictions on its billboards and other printed marketing materials for the promotion.


So what was Spirit Airlines’ fine?  The U.S. Department of Transportation fined the airline US$50,000.    While the DOT’s fine is a slap on the wrist, the fine makes a point to Sprit Airlines and other airlines … the DOT is watching and keeping you honest.


Mistakes will happen, however interestingly, as of today it appears Spirit Airlines has gone through its Tweets and deleted every single Tweet the airline tweeted in June 2011 from their Twitterstream.


Happy Flying!



2 Responses

  1. Small fines only create precedent out that you can get away with breaking the law. In other words: We caught you but now you know the punishment really isn’t enough to make you worry about avoiding it in the future. When no fine is levied, there’s still the concern that one day the DOT will take action and crack down hard.

  2. The fine will be absorbed by customers in short order.

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