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Can You Believe the Airline Industry's Response to the DOT's Latest Proposal?

May 22, 2014 at 10:13 AM | by | ()

If you haven't heard, the Department of Transportation announced a proposal yesterday that would require airlines to be more upfront about the extra costs associated with purchasing a ticket, such as baggage and seat assignment fees. The idea is for these costs to be listed alongside the price of the ticket throughout the various purchasing outlets instead of at the last minute in order to give customers a more complete picture when comparing costs between airlines.

This is great news for us consumers, as we've all no doubt been there done that when it comes to being lured in by a low price, only to realize it would actually cost $50-$100 more after such aforementioned fees. And while one would think this would be a pretty reasonable request, the airline industry doesn't like it one bit.

At first, we understood on a level of principle, as airline groups explained that hotels and other consumer services are not held to the same standard. Okay, fair enough. In terms of business and lawmaking, we get that might not be fair. But unfortunately the spokesperson didn't stop there, and what followed was a statement by Airlines for America that really showed the true colors of the industry:

By proposing that airlines provide information on some ancillary options to a duopoly of Global Distribution System providers, DOT's rule likely would further increase airline expense, and force airlines to pass on the additional costs to customers in the form of higher fares or reduced levels of air service.

Are you serious? Is this really the state of the world today, one where businesses have so little respect for customers that they threaten to charge them more for a transparent transaction? That threat - and yes, it was a direct threat - really doesn't sit well with us, and it's really baffling to step back and envision someone writing that statement with a straight face, truly believing that full price disclosure is something consumers should pay extra for.

So, the airlines are basically saying that it will cost an additional fee for them to be upfront about their additional fees. Imagine that. If there's any silver lining here, at least they are fully disclosing this one.

[Photo: Sreengrab]

Archived Comments:

Resort Fees

I wish hotels had the same type of rule and have to include resort fees when showing prices! P.S. Spirit Airlines would go broke if they had to show this. :-)