US house bill seeks to highlight government fees in ticket prices

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US lawmakers have introduced a bill that would break out government taxes and fees from base fares when airlines advertise ticket prices, in a move that they say would increase transparency in airline advertising.

If passed, the bipartisan legislation would change today’s rules that require airlines to advertise ticket prices inclusive of any taxes and fees. Airlines had been able to advertise base ticket fares separately from government taxes and fees until January 2012, when the US Department of Transportation (DOT) required that all charges be reflected in one price.

The department says it has implemented the full-fare advertising rules to make the ticket prices more transparent, however the bill’s authors argue that the mandate has unfairly hidden rising taxes and fees from consumers.

“While the DOT had good intentions, the new rule effectively reduced transparency,” says Peter DeFazio, a democratic congressman from Oregon and senior member of the House of Representatives’ main transportation committee.

The bill is supported by airline trade organisation Airlines For America (A4A), which says that airline travellers typically pay taxes worth 20% of a typical $300 roundtrip domestic ticket.

The White House announced $4.2 billion in new aviation taxes and fees under its Fiscal 2015 budget, says A4A.