House bill filed to undo airline ticket advertising rules

House bill filed to undo airline ticket advertising rules

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers has filed a bill to undo regulations for airline ticket advertisements that have been enacted by the Department of Transportation under President Obama.

The measure, dubbed the Transparent Airfares Act of 2014 (H.R 4156), would eliminate regulations that require airlines to include taxes and fees in the price quotes they give to passengers when they shop online for flights.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) said the Transportation Department's rules have resulted in passengers being misled into thinking airline ticket prices are higher than they actually are.

"Virtually all consumer products are advertised at a base price, with taxes added on at the point of purchase,” Shuster said in a statement. “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," he continued, "so they know how much they’re paying for the service, and how much they’re paying in government imposed taxes and fees.”

The flight advertising rules were enacted by the department in 2012 as part of the Obama administration's push to implement a series of protections for airline customers that have been dubbed by some observers the Passenger's Bill of Rights.

Other new regulations of the airline industry include a ban on passengers been held on airport tarmacs for longer than three hours and more stringent work scheduling rules for pilots.
The measure to undo the ticket advertising rules is sponsored by Shuster and Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore), Tom Graves (R-Ga.), Nick Rahall (D-W.Va. ), Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) and Rick Larsen (D-Wash.).

The Democratic sponsors, who normally support Obama administration, said the Transportation Department may have overreached on flight advertisements.

“While the DOT had good intentions, the new rule effectively reduced transparency,” DeFazio said in a statement. “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.”