House passes bill for 'transparent' airline ticket prices

The House on Monday passed a bill allowing airlines to state costs of base airfare and government-imposed taxes and fees separately in advertisements.

Passed by voice vote, the measure would reverse a 2012 Department of Transportation rule that requires airlines to include taxes and fees in the advertised ticket prices. Instead, airlines would be able to explain which aspects of the costs are from government-imposed fees.

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House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) said the change would make the airline ticket prices more transparent.

"This bill will allow airlines and travel agents to display the actual costs in a transparent way, in order to allow customers to see the base airfare and government taxes and fees," Shuster said. "It is only fair that consumers know what they are paying for."

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said the 2012 rule was ultimately misguided.

"I would say that this was a nanny state rule in search of a problem that didn't exist that may have created a problem that does exist," DeFazio said.

DeFazio said the legislation would make improve the process of buying airline tickets.

"Consumers are pretty smart. We're not concealing anything here. Give us full and meaningful information," DeFazio said.

The Department of Transportation would be required to issue final rules to implement the changes within 120 days of the bill's enactment.