US House committee passes proposed airfares bill

Washington DC
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A US House of Representatives committee has passed proposed legislation that would change how US airlines advertise their airfares, in a move welcomed by the country's carriers.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed the legislation by a voice vote. First introduced by lawmakers in March, the Transparent Airfares Act seeks to allow airlines to advertise base airfares and disclose government taxes separately.

If passed into law, the legislation would reverse existing regulations that require airlines to display all-inclusive fares when advertising.

“Most consumer products are advertised at a base price, with taxes added at the point of purchase, but federal regulations unfairly changed advertising rules for airfares by requiring all taxes and fees to be included in the advertised price of a ticket,” say the bill's sponsors and congressmen Bill Shuster and Peter DeFazio. “These regulations actually hide the cost of government from consumers. This common sense bill will allow flyers to see the full breakdown of their ticket costs, so they’ll know what they’re paying for the service, and what they’re paying in government imposed taxes and fees.”

Industry organisation Airlines For America (A4A) welcomed the move by the committee. A4A and US airlines have repeatedly spoken out against what they deem excessive taxation on the US airline industry. "The 17 different taxes and fees imposed on aviation and its customers totaled more than $19 billion last year alone," says A4A.

The proposed legislation has attracted criticism from advocacy groups, who say the law would make it difficult for consumers to determine the total airfare they would be paying.