President Joe Biden announced a new proposed rule requiring airlines and travel sites to be more transparent about additional fees customers could be charged. These fees include flight changes or cancellations as well as baggage.
Hidden Fees Begone
Under the new proposed rule, airlines and travel sites will need to disclose any fees related to sitting with your child, changing or canceling your flight, or checking bags when the airfare is displayed the first time. Biden will meet with top Cabinet and administration officials on Monday to discuss how these rules can be implemented throughout other agencies. The goal is to increase transparency and limit add-on fees for customers.
Biden will reportedly emphasize how companies across many industries impose “hidden fees that don't allow customers to see the full price of what they're buying.”
A White House official told CNN that “This is going to stop the airlines from hiding the true cost of your ticket, so that when you're searching you find the actual best deal — saving Americans money and spurring more competition on prices.”
In 2021, airlines allegedly made around $700 million in cancellation and flight change fees. They charge travelers for a number of additional “perks” that used to just come with the cost of the ticket. One of these “perks” is advanced seating selection, which does not even guarantee more legroom.
Carriers and online travel agencies have updated their sites recently to highlight the most basic economy tickets, which also happen to be the cheapest. They are also the most restrictive. Airline executives have admitted that they want passengers to avoid these tickets in favor of the more flexible standard economy tickets.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said, “Passengers deserve to know the true cost of their flights before they buy a ticket.”
Enough Is Enough
Buttigieg says that after the tens of thousands of flight cancellations and delays this summer, he was prompted to give a directive to the Department of Transportation to create and publish an online dashboard where customers could find comparative information regarding what each of the major U.S. airlines provides to their passengers when delays or cancellations are caused by factors that are within the airline's control.
Several of the major U.S. airlines modified their policies in response to demands from the DOT for more transparency. Buttigieg says that he supports this rule because Americans will be able to make informed decisions about the airline tickets they are buying and they will be able to save money.
A Better World
Monday's meeting will be the third gathering of the White House Competition Council. This council was formed last fall and its mission is to promote competition across the economy with the goal of lowering costs for American families.
The group is comprised of eight Cabinet members and the chairs of seven independent agencies.
Among the participants are Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, Director of the Office of Management and Budget Shalanda Young, and Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers Cecilia Rouse.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.