The White House in Washington, D.C. (Photo via lucky-photographer / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
In Monday’s meeting of the White House Competition Council, President Joe Biden proposed new rulemaking that would ensure consumers are receiving a more complete pricing picture prior to purchasing airline tickets.
Under the new initiative, airlines, third-party sellers and travel metasearch sites would be required to clearly disclose passenger- or itinerary-specific surcharges upfront, including baggage fees, change fees, cancellation fees and family-seating fees, the Department of Transportation (DOT) revealed in an official release.
All charges that will be included in final ticket pricing will have to be clearly displayed in the pricing presented to the consumer, whenever and wherever fare and schedule information is displayed for commercial flights traveling to, within and from the United States.
Per the DOT’s announcement, the proposed legislation, “seeks to provide customers the information they need to choose the best deal. Otherwise, surprise fees can add up quickly and overcome what may look at first to be a cheap fare.”
Because airline fees and seating availability can fluctuate frequently, the DOT will further propose that carriers and ticket agents be required to enable passengers who will be traveling with young children to purchase adjacent seats with their fare at the point of sale.
The new rulemaking is being put forward in response to President Biden’s already established Executive Order on “Promoting Competition in the American Economy,” through which the government is coordinating efforts to, “help lower prices for consumers, raise wages for workers and promote innovation throughout the economy by promoting competition.”
“Airline passengers deserve to know the full, true cost of their flights before they buy a ticket,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “This new proposed rule would require airlines to be transparent with customers about the fees they charge, which will help travelers make informed decisions and save money.”
At today’s White House Competition Council meeting, President Biden will be commending the DOT’s proposal and will call upon all federal agencies to exert their influence in order to expose and limit such hidden fees that inflate actual pricing for the end consumer. He is also set to discuss how similar unfair, hidden fee practices plague American consumers in other, unrelated industries, including internet service provider fees, and bank and credit companies’ overdraft and late fees.
Interested parties and members of the public are able to submit comments on this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NRPM) for the next 60 days before the new legislation is submitted for final approval.
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