Cheap Airfare Prices Must Include Taxes, Fees Starting Jan 26
New rules on airline fees might make air travel more transparent for consumers. The airfare fee rules, set to start on January 26, mandate airlines include mandatory taxes and fees in their advertisements.
Currently, fees can be listed separately in the fine print of airfare ads. This can result in a total airfare that is 20% higher than the advertised price.
Several airlines, including Southwest, Spirit, and Allegiant, have filed suit in federal court. They seek to block the new rules. The airlines claim that it violates their commercial free speech rights.
And, that it singles out airlines unfairly. After all, other businesses do not have to market a final price that includes taxes. "Forcing airlines to include taxes will also make air travel 'look' more expensive when in reality it's not," said Southwest spokesman Brandy King in an email to CNN.
Note that this new rule will only apply to mandatory fees. This won't apply to baggage fees because those are optional.
The new rule on airline fees will be accompanied by a few other new rules set to go into effect at the same time. These passenger protection rules include, as reported by CNN:
- A ban on post-purchase price increases
- Mandatory disclosure of baggage fees when booking flights and on e-ticket confirmations
- Uniform baggage fees and allowances during a passenger's trip
- Prompt airline notifications for delays of more than 30 minutes, cancellations, and diversions
- A 24-hour window for passengers to hold or cancel reservations without payment or penalty if they made the reservations a week or more in advance of the departure date
Before the new rules on airline fees take effect, consumers should take care to read the fine print before purchasing fares. It's best to be fully informed.
- The Navigator: New rules on airline fees, a partial victory for travelers (Washington Post)
- What about an airline bumping me off my flight? (FindLaw)
- FAA Shutdown: Airlines Raising Airfares During Tax Break (FindLaw's Common Law)
- Study: Airline Passenger Complaints On Rise (FindLaw's Common Law)