May 6, 2002—ATA (American Trans Air, Inc. Nasdaq:AMTR), the nation`s 10th largest carrier (based on revenue passenger miles flown), today issued a consumers alert due to misleading and deceptive radio commercials being broadcast in the Chicago area and the West Coast by hotwire.com, a little known company selling airline tickets through the Internet.
According to ATA:
Hotwire.com is currently advertising supposed sample fares between Chicago and Boston quoting bogus fares for ATA. The fares provided in the hotwire.com ad are erroneous. In addition, hotwire.com ostensibly claims to offer low rates on “big name” airlines. However, its site does not provide the name of the airline offering the service, whether that service is non-stop or requires a stop or connection, time of departure or time of arrival until after the customer`s credit card is charged. There are no refunds or exchanges permitted. Hotwire.com is financially backed by United Airlines, American Airlines, Northwest Airlines, US Airways, America West and Continental Airlines. Coincidentally, only the rates and services of these airlines are provided.
“We are considering our legal options to stop this misleading advertising as hotwire.com blatantly attacks ATA`s integrity and trustworthiness,” said Don Moonjian, ATA Vice President Marketing. “Hotwire.com suggests that ATA is a “no name” airline. I suggest they do their homework. ATA is the largest carrier at Midway and the number three carrier overall in Chicago.
“ATA feels an immediate obligation and commitment to play the advocate role by informing our customers so they do not fall prey to this misleading and deceptive practice,” he added. “They falsified ATA`s fares and, quite frankly, I wouldn`t be surprised if they misrepresented the fares of other carriers as well.”
Separately, ATA will file a complaint with the Department of Transportation (DOT) asking for a Cease and Desist Order and the initiation of enforcement proceedings.
Now in its 29th year of operation, ATA offers significant scheduled service from Chicago-Midway and Indianapolis to 40 business and vacation destinations. Stock of the Company`s parent company, Amtran, Inc., is traded on the NASDAQ stock market under the symbol “AMTR.”