House Bill Would Allow Airlines to Deceptively Advertise Fares

Jun 26, 2017

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Imagine you’re looking to book your dream trip and see an advertised fare that’s too good to pass up — only to realize that it’s just the base fare and doesn’t include any taxes. So, that cheap ticket doesn’t turn out to be so affordable at all. Thankfully, there’s currently a Department of Transportation requirement that airlines must include taxes in the first mention of a fare in their advertising.

On Tuesday, however, a committee will vote on a new piece of House legislation that would overturn the DoT requirement to disclose taxes. Since the DoT implemented the requirement to regulate unfair and deceptive practices in order to prevent bait-and-switch advertising in 2012, airlines have opposed it. They say there is no other industry that is required to include the taxed amount when advertising their products. In fact, Spirit Airlines fronted a group of airlines that tried to bring the issue to the Supreme Court in 2013, but the court declined to hear the case.

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According to USA Today, Representative Bill Shuster (R- Pennsylvania) introduced the bill, which says it’s not unfair or deceptive for airlines to advertise their fares without the tax included. However, the bill says that airlines must disclose the taxes through a link or popup box on their websites. According to Airlines for America, a trade group, taxes add about 20% to the cost of an average ticket.

What Can You Do About It?

This could mean bad news for travelers — especially those not accustomed to how high those taxes can climb. It’ll be best for all involved to keep the taxes included in those advertised fares. So, what can you do about it? Since a House committee is voting on the issue tomorrow, call your representatives and let them know that you’re not in favor.

To find your representative’s phone number, head to the House website and enter your ZIP code. From there, you’ll get the name of your representative and a link to their website, which will hold their contact information. By keeping the regulations in place to advertise the full fares, it can help to keep the airlines in check and honest with us, the passengers.

Featured image courtesy of Greg Bajor via Getty Images.

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