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US fines Alitalia $125K over compensation policy

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. Department of Transportation fined Alitalia $125,000 for giving passengers false information on its website about their rights when a flight is canceled.

The department said Thursday that the Italian airline falsely claimed the right to refuse to compensate passengers for late or canceled flights. U.S. regulations require airlines to offer compensation in cases of lengthy delays.

Alitalia adopted European rules on compensation for delayed and canceled flights but claimed the right to refuse to pay on travel to the United States. The airline said that policy had been in place for years.

The Department of Transportation said that it investigated after two passengers reported that Alitalia refused to pay cash compensation after canceling their flight.

Half the fine will be dropped if Alitalia follows the U.S. rules for a year.