Bipartisan legislation introduced in the House Thursday will restore transparency to the advertising of U.S. airline ticket prices and ensure that airfare advertisements are not forced to hide the costs of government from consumers.
The Transparent Airfares Act of 2014 (H.R 4156) allows advertisements for passenger air travel to state the base airfare and separately disclose any government imposed taxes and fees and the total cost of travel.
The bill was introduced by U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), senior Committee Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Transportation Committee Ranking Member Nick J. Rahall, II (D-WV), Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), and Aviation Subcommittee Ranking Member Rick Larsen (D-WA).
“The cost of airline tickets will never be transparent as long as the Department of Transportation requires airlines to hide taxes, surcharges, and fees from consumers,” said Rep. Graves. “In fact, this regulation means airlines may unfairly shoulder the blame for price increases, even if it's a government tax hike that's responsible. Our bill ensures transparency by informing consumers about what fees they’re paying, and where their money is going.”
Rep. Graves was the lead sponsor of a similar bill, the Travel Transparency Act, which was introduced in the 112th Congress.
“Virtually all consumer products are advertised at a base price, with taxes added on at the point of purchase,” Chairman Shuster said. “But Department of Transportation regulations have fundamentally and unfairly changed the advertising rules for airfares by requiring all government imposed taxes and fees to be embedded in the advertised price of a ticket. As a result, the fact that Americans are paying higher and higher government imposed taxes and fees to travel by air is being hidden from them. This common sense bill will allow consumers to see the full breakdown of their ticket costs, so they know how much they’re paying for the service, and how much they’re paying in government imposed taxes and fees.”
“While the DOT had good intentions, the new rule effectively reduced transparency,” Rep. DeFazio said. “Consumers haven’t been getting the whole picture of what an airline ticket pays for. The Transparent Airfares Act is a simple fix to give people better information.”
The Transparent Airfares Act: Returning Transparency to U.S. Airline Airfare Advertising
· The legislation will return transparency to U.S. airline fare advertising by allowing advertisements for passenger air travel to state the base airfare and separately disclose any government imposed taxes and fees and the total cost of travel.
· The bill will allow consumers full disclosure of the breakdown of costs that are associated with travel and will no longer require airlines and travel agents to conceal the cost of government taxes and fees.
· The bill evens the playing field in price advertising, removing an unnecessary and inappropriate requirement that unfairly singles out airline airfare advertising.