U.S. airlines and online travel sites have 60 days to comply with a new law designed to make it easier for passengers to know when they make a reservation what carrier will actually do the flying.
When passengers buy an airline ticket, they have the right to know which airline will be operating their flight, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement on Monday.
The law was prompted by the crash of a regional jet in 2009 near Buffalo that killed all 49 aboard and one person on the ground.
The ill-fated twin-engine Dash 8 Q400 turboprop was operated by Colgan Air, a unit of Pinnacle Airlines Corp, as a Continental Connection flight.
Such third-party or code share arrangements are common in the industry with regional affiliates covering more and more domestic service each year for their bigger partners.
But the crash publicly highlighted disparities in pilot training, working conditions and pay between major mainline carriers, like United/Continental Holdings, and smaller airlines, like Colgan.
Safety investigators largely blamed crew error for the Colgan crash in wintry conditions. The accident also led to other changes in law on pilot training standards and a regulatory effort to give them more rest.
Current rules require airlines to disclose code-sharing arrangements broadly, but there is no requirement to prominently display the actual carrier that will operate the flight.
Regulators are stepping up enforcement and looking at compliance by airlines and online travel sites.
JetBlue Airways Corp was fined $600,000 in December, partly for failing to disclose code-share arrangements for some flights.
Most major airlines use online ticket outlets like Priceline.com, Orbitz Worldwide and CheapOAir.com.
Some of those services have updated their websites in anticipation of the new law.
(Reporting by John Crawley; Editing by Richard Chang)