The White House on September 26 announced that it was proposing a rule that it said would “significantly strengthen” protections for travelers by requiring airlines to disclose fees upfront at the time of booking.
Here’s what you need to know about the Biden administration’s announcement.
Rule Would Require Full Price To Be Displayed
The DOT announced that it was proposing a rule that U.S. and foreign airlines would have to make their policies about baggage, change, and cancellation fees clearer to customers before booking their tickets.
This would mean that airlines would be required to show what extra fees travelers would have to pay the first time a ticket price is displayed.
The rule would also apply to ticket agents, which includes third-party sellers and online travel agencies, on flights to, within, and from the U.S.
“Airline passengers deserve to know the full, true cost of their flights before they buy a ticket,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a statement.
“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,” Buttigieg continued.
In remarks at the White House on Monday, President Biden said he planned to crack down on these airline fees — in particular, drawing attention to extra fees parents have to pay to sit with their child.
Earlier this year, the DOT issued a notice encouraging airlines to create policies allowing kids under 13 to sit with an accompanying adult. Still, there’s no rule requiring carriers to do so. Some airlines, like Delta, discourage passengers wanting to sit next to each other from booking restrictive basic economy fares.
“Most people would help pay your fee if you’d sit the child somewhere else,” Biden said on Monday. “Fees for things like sitting next to your child, checking your bag — you should know the full cost of your ticket right when you’re comparison shopping, to begin with, what airline you’re going to fly with, so you can pick the ticket that actually is the best deal for you.”
Hot Tip: Take a look at our guide to change and cancellation fees!
This is positive news for consumers. Often, travelers stumble across bargain prices when searching for air travel, only for the price to be increased at checkout when adding extra services. With this proposed rule, air carriers would be required to show travelers the full fare, which puts more power in the hands of the consumer.
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Khairil Azhar Junos via Shutterstock