State Attorney General Robert Abrams has charged that Trans World Airlines Inc. is misleading consumers with an advertising campaign offering low-cost travel packages to Europe.
Abrams' office filed a lawsuit last week in state Supreme Court in Manhattan seeking to permanently bar TWA from continuing its advertising campaign of the past seven months.Spokesmen for TWA could not immediately be reached for comment.
Abrams alleged that a $298 travel package to London from New York touted in one ad actually would cost at least $792.
A newspaper ad cited by Abrams stated: "London Round Trip + Hotel + Car $298."
Abrams said the price was valid only if a consumer was willing to stay at "a hotel in the English countryside," not London. A three-day stay at a London hotel would cost at least $450 and as much as $867 per room, according to the terms of the package deal, he said.
The $298 price also did not include a mandatory $23 in security, immigration and customs fees and an international departure tax.
In addition, Abrams said the ad led customers to believe they would not have to pay any charges to rent a car. In fact, Abrams noted in court papers, a customer would have to pay an $18 mandatory fuel charge and a value added tax of 15 percent.
So a $298 London package deal would cost a minimum of $321 for airfare, $450 for three days at a hotel and $21 for the car, a total of $792.
Abrams also noted that TWA began a new advertising campaign in February offering low airfare to various European cities. Abrams said the ads make no mention that the prices listed are less than one half of the required round trip purchase price.