President Joe Biden on Monday announced new rules that would require airlines and online travel agencies to disclose fees for seat selection, checked baggage and other add-ons along with fares, the administration’s latest effort to bolster passenger protections after a rocky summer travel season.
Airlines charge travelers for a number of additional perks, which used to come with the cost of a ticket, including a fee for advanced selection for many seats on board, even those without extra legroom.
The president outlined the Transportation Department’s new proposed rules during a speech at a meeting at the White House Competition Council on Monday.
“You should know the full cost of your ticket, right when you’re comparing shopping,” Biden said.
Travelers at LaGuardia Airport (LGA) in the Queens borough of New York, US, on Friday, July 2, 2022. As travel is ramping up for the July 4th holiday, staffing shortages are causing problems for some of the nations largest airlines.
Angus Mordant | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a news release earlier on Monday that the 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.”
Airlines for America, which represents major US carriers, said airlines are already transparent about ticket fees.
“A4A member passenger airlines – which are fierce competitors – already offer transparency to consumers from first search to touchdown,” the group said in a statement. “US airlines are committed to providing the highest quality of service, which includes clarity regarding prices, fees and ticket terms.”
Carriers and online travel agencies have updated their websites in recent years to highlight the details of basic economy tickets, airlines’ most restrictive but cheaper fares. Airline executives have said they want passengers to Eschew those tickets in favor of more flexible standard economy fares.
The Biden administration’s proposal comes less than two months after the Transportation Department sought stricter standards for when airlines have to refund travelers for delays.