The U.S. Department of Transportation is considering a rule that would make it easier for you to see the “true cost” when booking a plane fight – the fare, plus any fees.
Currently, the prices you find online are limited to the airfare. To find out what the fees will cost, you need to search the airline’s website, or head to checkout.
“So, you can’t compare apples to apples,” said consumer advocate Charlie Leocha, president Travelers United, who supports the new rule. “So, you end up comparing what the airlines want you to compare. And the airlines only want you to see airfares, not the total cost, which benefits the big carriers, such as American, Delta, and United, and against a lower cost carrier, such as Southwest, which doesn’t have baggage fees.”
The airlines insist they are already transparent with their pricing. Airlines for America (A4A), a trade group that represents major U.S. air carriers, says its members are “committed to providing the highest quality service, which includes clarity regarding prices, fees and ticket terms.”
If approved, the rule would require all airlines (domestic and foreign), and ticket agents (including third-party sellers such as Expedia, Travelocity, and Booking.com), and online “metasearch” sites that display air travel options (such as Kayak, and Scott’s Cheap flights) to clearly disclose baggage fees, change fees, cancellation fees, and family seating fees whenever fare and schedule information is provided to consumers for flights to, within, and from the United States.
The DOT is accepting comments for 60 days. Click here to go to Regulations.gov and look for the comments tab.
This new proposal comes less than two months after the DOT announced a proposed rule to clarify when an airline must provide cash refunds when a flight is delayed, canceled, or significantly changed in some way that inconveniences the passenger. Read more about this: Consumer Advocates Want the Department of Transportation to Fix Our Broken Airline System