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Congress Considers Airfare Truth in Advertising Rollback

Legislation would allow airlines to advertise fares without taxes included.

How flyers receive advertised airfare pricing could change if a federal regulation passes through the committee phase and goes on to become law. On Tuesday, June 27, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will consider the 21st Century AIRR Act, driving sweeping changes to the American air transportation infrastructure.

The bill was led by Republican Congressman Bill Shuster, who has introduced similar bills in the past. The act would fulfill President Donald Trump’s announcement to move American air traffic control (ATC) systems away from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and into a separate nonprofit organization.

However, the bill would also change several additional aspects affecting the passenger experience. Notable among them is a rollback of the 2012 rule requiring airlines to advertise the complete cost of a ticket, including base fare, taxes and fees. According to trade organization Airlines for America, additional taxes and fees can drive a base fare up by 20 percent.

“The 21st Century AIRR Act puts American innovation, and the traveling public first,” Shuster said in a press release. “We met and worked with a large number of stakeholders and Members of Congress to produce this bill, and incorporated numerous ideas and changes to improve the final product.”

Not everybody is a fan of the proposed changes. In an editorial published by Travelers United president Charlie Leocha, the advocacy group denounces the proposed drop of the “truth in advertising” rules, claiming it would only lead to passenger confusion and lost rights.

“It is a naked attack on truth in advertising,” Leocha wrote. “These representatives of citizens think that it is perfectly honest to advertise a transatlantic flight for $65 in newspaper ads when the lowest-priced, no-frills ticket will actually cost more than $750.”

Other provisions of the 334-page bill include changes in FAA safety certification, a permanent ban on cell phone calls on commercial aircraft and the formation of an aviation consumer protection advisory committee. After markup, the bill will go to a committee vote before being introduced to the full House of Representatives.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
localguy808 July 5, 2017

Clearly a certain utterly clueless congressional rep was promised a high paying, do nothing job with the airlines if he would be their lapdog. And as our incompetent bureaucrats do, they will be anyone's lapdog for $1. It's what they do.

ichorush July 1, 2017

I guess this is the best the republicans can do by passing no legislation. I am perfectly accepting of no legislation. Moronic legislating is far worse. Next thing your airplane charges will look like your cell phone bill.

bhaimsohn June 30, 2017

Our government has nothing else to do, so they are looking for ways to upset the flying public. GOOD JOB!!! Even if something this stupid is passed and find it hard for any legitimate US airline to go so far as to hide the true cost of a ticket in their advertisement. The push back would be so great that it would make the United problems look minor.

Full Score June 30, 2017

If you compare the passenger fees and taxes charged by each government, it would be to the advantage of the US government to show this info clearly to the passenger, e.g. a fare out of LHR is enormously more expensive than the reverse out of JFK. Ditto a fare out of GCM. Add on the punitive BA "fuel" surcharges (which should be illegal) and you have another example of why TOTAL fares should be displayed to the customer.

RAAng June 30, 2017

Normally I would agree about the lack of desirability of hiding fees and taxes, but airfares are so random anyway it doesn't really matter. Today it will cost me $630 round trip to Heathrow, a month ago it would have cost me $1300. What part of that number is add-ons is kind of moot to me in this totally arbitrary system. Maybe if there were a cost to Heathrow and back I'd want to know what portion was what, but since it changes every day, just give me the bottom line so when I'm looking to buy I don't have to do the math every time.