City Attorney Dennis Herrera. (Examiner file photo)

City Attorney sues online travel sites for alleged illegal, deceptive practices

Herrera: JustFly and FlightHub are ‘in the hidden fee business’

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera on Thursday sued companies operating two online travel sites, JustFly and FlightHub, for alleged illegal and deceptive practices including hidden fees.

The lawsuit filed in San Francisco Superior Court says that together, the companies comprise the fourth-largest online travel agency in the U.S. market.

The unfair business practices lawsuit alleges the undisclosed fees include seat assignment fees in addition to those charged by airlines and “unconscionable” cancellation fees of $75 to $200 for flights canceled within 24 hours, even though airlines don’t charge for such changes.

“JustFly is not in the travel business. They’re in the hidden fee business,” Herrera said in a statement. He filed the lawsuit on behalf of the people of California.

Representatives of the two operating companies, Justfly Inc. of Bellevue, Washington, and Justfly Corp. of Prince Edward Island, Canada, could not be reached for comment.

The president or chief executive officer of both is Nick Hart, according to the lawsuit. His residence is listed on LinkedIn as Montreal.

The lawsuit also alleges that the online agencies pressure customers to buy largely useless travel insurance, promote low-cost fares that are not actually available and fail to disclose baggage fees and refund obligations. It asks for an injunction stopping the allegedly illegal practices, restitution to customers and a fine of $2,500 for each violation of the state’s unfair business practices law.

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