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Old Oct 20, 08, 8:37 pm
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Originally Posted by SNA_Flyer View Post
I really could care less what they charge for fuel surcharges. The bottom line is that the US Government should require all air carriers to quote "All In" pricing - all taxes, fees, surcharges, etc. I think it's worked quite well in Australia and the EU.
In some ways, we're already there, it's just that the DOT differs from the EU and Australian governments on what constitutes "all in". The Aviation Enforcement Office of the DOT is responsible for monitoring advertising practices of airlines and sellers of travel to ensure they comply with the many and complex rules around how airfares must be disclosed to customers.

The penalties for violating these rules can be pretty hefty, especially when examining the precedent for how the DOT has determined the scope of an infraction. There have been cases where they have determined that an infraction is a single example on a single page...which can obviously multiply very quickly if applied across an entire fare listing or search result.

The DOT periodically publishes guidelines and advisories to the industry on how it will monitor and enforce the rules and regulations that govern the industry. Here is an excerpt from one in November 2004:

In addition, the desire of carriers to pass on the higher costs of certain expenses discretely, such as insurance and fuel, has led to such expenses being filed separately from the “base” fare in tariffs, a situation that the Department cannot effectively monitor. In view of these developments, the Enforcement Office will no longer allow the separate listing of “government-approved” surcharges in fare advertising. We will consider the separate listing of such charges in fare advertisements an unfair and deceptive trade practice and unfair method of competition in violation of 14 CFR 399.84 and 49 U.S.C. § 41712 and will pursue enforcement action where such violations are found.
Surprisingly, a reversal of this must have been communicated, I'm just having trouble finding it at the moment. Otherwise, I can't imagine that the airlines would still be able to continue excluding them from their fare displays without repercussions.

I'll keep digging a bit more to see what I can find.

EDIT: Actually, after a cursory review of the airline sites, it appears that they are consistent with DOT regulations around fuel-driven YQ/YR surcharges. It is only the GDS displays that are affected, and therefore probably not regulated by the consumer-focused DOT regs.

Last edited by RChavez; Oct 20, 08 at 11:25 pm
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