Biden to propose new rule requiring airlines to disclose additional charges up front

(The Hill) — President Joe Biden will propose a new rule on Monday afternoon requiring airlines and travel search websites to disclose surcharges up front when passengers purchase tickets.

The rule is the administration’s latest step to increase accountability for the airline industry, as passenger complaints about delays and cancellations have skyrocketed in recent months.

The proposal would require airlines and websites to disclose additional fees – such as those for changing and canceling flights, checking baggage or for parents to sit with their child – when they first display fares airlines to potential customers.

The Transportation Department said Biden would announce the proposal at a meeting of the White House Competition Council scheduled for later Monday.

“Airline passengers deserve to know the full and true cost of their flights before purchasing a ticket,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “This proposed new rule would require airlines to be transparent with customers about the fees they charge, which will help travelers make informed decisions and save money.”

Monday’s announcement is part of Biden’s sweeping executive order to promote competition in the economy through 72 initiatives cracking down on anticompetitive practices across multiple industries.

American Airlines and JetBlue begin their antitrust lawsuit Monday after the Justice Department and attorneys general from six states and Washington, D.C. filed a lawsuit to block a partnership between the two airlines, accusing them of stifling competition on routes from New York and Boston.

Buttigieg’s department has also taken aim at the industry in recent months, proposing its own tougher regulations to clarify when airlines must reimburse passengers after delaying or canceling their flights.

The Department of Transportation also released a dashboard last month to help customers determine if they are eligible for a refund.

The moves come as the airline industry comes under increased scrutiny, with passengers returning to the skies in greater numbers as many carriers report hiring problems.

Staffing difficulties, which in some areas have extended to air traffic control centers, have led airlines to delay or cancel flights, a problem that has only been exacerbated by high airfare prices. fuel and severe storms this summer.

The Air Line Pilots Association, the largest pilot union, however, has maintained that there is no shortage of such pilots.

Many airlines have offered salary incentives to attract and retain pilots, and the Federal Aviation Administration rejected a request earlier this month from a carrier to relax flight time requirements for new pilots.

Mesa Airlines, which operates smaller routes for United Airlines and American Airlines, said Thursday it would fund the costs of more than 1,000 pilots to build the 1,500 flight hours needed before flying commercially and make it a priority for employment.


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