Washington, DC: Korean Air Co. apologized to the US Justice Department last month and agreed to pay US $300 million in fines after the department's antitrust investigation of the air transport industry and Korean air price fixing.
The US Justice department charged Korean Air with colluding with its competitors to increase the surcharge for each kilogram of cargo shipped from the US. Specifically, it was charged with increasing the fuel surcharge from US$0.10 to as high as US$0.60 for each kilogram of cargo shipped from the US.
It also charged Korean Air with agreeing with its rival to fix certain passenger fares for flights from the US to South Korea, which has left a lot of disgruntled passengers out of pocket and demanding compensation.
"I am a victim of over-paid air fair over this period time [January 1, 2000 through July 16, 2006]," said Mark Li (not his real name). "I am a frequent flier of Korean Airline and flew about 74 times over the period of time. I feel over-paid."
H. Kwon also wants compensation. "I paid [too much for] air tickets each time I traveled through Korean Air and didn't know about it. I traveled a lot to South Korea through Korean Air and I was shocked that they controlled air fare wrongfully."
And a third angry consumer: "Korean Air illegally conspired with competitors to fix pricing for flights between the United States and Korea. I purchased two round trip tickets in the US between 1 January 2000 to July 2006. I had to pay unfairly higher fares for the flights. Korean Air should pay the compensation to me."
The Tapei Times reported that Korea's main flag carrier admitted to fixing prices on international passenger and cargo flights. "Korean Air apologizes to shareholders and customers for causing the trouble," said Ahn Yong-seok, a company lawyer.
A spokesperson for Korean Air said it would make further efforts "to become a respected leader in the airline industry" and it is cooperating with ongoing antitrust investigations. Meanwhile, a US lawyer can help ensure that Korean Air cooperates if you were wrongfully charged airline fares from the US to South Korea.