Ever found airfare for $100 and realized that, with taxes and fees, you'll actually have to shell out nearly twice as much? That's all about to change.
Starting January 26th, misleading fare advertisements such as "$86 and up" or "Starting at $59" will be banned.
Some Airlines Balk At Disclosure Rules
MSNBC reports that The Department of Transportation (DOT) is implementing a series of passenger protection rules, but the truth in price advertising is making the biggest splash. Last year, both Icelandair and AirTran Airways were fined for false advertising in their fares ($50,000 and $60,000, respectively) under the current, less stringent regulations.
The decree will apply to all airlines operating within the United States, including those that fly internationally, and in fact, Aer Lingus and Lufthansa have already altered their displayed prices to include all taxes and fees.
Not every airline is being so cooperative. Three American carriers who rely heavily on advertising low prices—Spirit Airlines, Allegiant and Southwest—are trying to resist the DOT's ruling by contesting it in federal court. They insist that the airline industry shouldn't be "treated differently" than other industries with regard to disclosing tax and government fees and that displaying the entire fare will falsely represent air travel as especially expensive. The case is currently pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals.
It's All Good on Our End
It's worth noting that higher prices displayed on airline websites won't mean that the fares have risen. From the consumer perspective, this development is fantastic (remember all of the crappy things airlines had been doing to us?). The higher numbers will include all subsidiary charges, so budgeting for a trip will only be easier.
Cheers to the DOT.