Biden Targets Airlines With New Legislation
(StraightNews.org) – Flying is a very convenient way for people to travel between long-distance locations. However, there has been an increasing lack of transparency when it comes to airlines and the fees they charge. Some companies offer all-inclusive fees that include checked baggage, while others have a host of additional fees — and customers aren’t always aware of them. Now, the Biden Administration is trying to address the issue.
On Monday, September 26, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced it was proposing a new rule on how airlines operate their booking processes. If passed, it would force the companies to be 100% upfront about the total ticket cost before the consumer reaches the checkout process. The agency wants consumers to see “any fees charged to sit with your child, for changing or cancelling [sic] [their] flight, and for checked or carry-on baggage.”
According to the DOT, many flyers are surprised that they have to pay extra for choosing their seat or bringing a carry-on bag. President Joe Biden discussed the issue at a recent White House Competition Council meeting, saying customers should be aware of the total ticket price while comparison shopping in order to get the best deal.
But, Is It Really Necessary?
Airlines for America, a trade association that represents the major airlines in North America, feels this proposal is unnecessary. It says anytime someone books a flight, the website discloses the fees and terms of purchase at checkout. Some economically-priced tickets, for example, have restrictions that customers must acknowledge prior to purchasing, such as change or cancellation fees or what type of baggage is permitted with the cost savings.
The Department of Transportation says finding these fees during the booking process leads to confusion and doesn’t necessarily ensure the purchaser ends up with the best deal. An agency spokesperson said, “consumers are often diverted to complex charts that are confusing.” With the implementation of the new rule, these costs would be listed upfront, not hidden in links or charts on different pages, making it easier for travelers to choose a ticket that fits their needs.
Before the proposal can become a rule, it needs to undergo a 60-day public comment period. Americans can post their opinions on the rule, and only after this period will a final decision on the matter be made.
How do you feel about this proposal? Are you concerned about how ticket prices are presented when you book a flight?
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