Menendez: New Airline Fee Disclosure will Help Protect Consumers

Menendez: New Airline Fee Disclosure will Help Protect Consumers

WASHINGTON, DC - Following his most recent efforts to protect consumers and stop airlines from burying the real cost of an airline ticket, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) applauded today's move by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to require greater disclosure of fees such as those for bags and seats. The rule is based in part on a provision Menendez authored and had included in the Senate-passed version of the most recent FAA bill. Menendez has led the fight to protect consumers from hidden costs since 2008 which has led to more transparency in airfares, introducing both the Clear Airfares Act and the Real Transparency in Airfares Act.

"For too long, airlines have been tacking on hidden fees for everything imaginable-from the luggage you carry to the seat you choose-making it impossible to accurately comparison-shop, or to know the full costs of your travel upfront," said Sen. Menendez. "Today's proposal says that consumers have a right to know about those fees when they're shopping for airfares - not to be hit with them on the checkout line. While all of the details of this new rule are not yet finalized, this is a positive first step, and I'm ready to work with DOT to further strengthen consumer protections before it's implemented."

According to USDOT, the proposal would require ticket agents and airlines that provide fare information to consumers to also disclose ancillary fees to consumers. This information must be made available at the point in which fares are being compared to help consumers better understand the full cost. It also includes a number of other consumer protections, including giving consumers expanded information on on-time performance, mishandled baggage, and oversales; creating new customer service standards for large ticket agents; and better disclosure of code-share operations.

Earlier this month, Menendez introduced the "Real Transparency in Airfares Act" which would maintain the requirement that ticket sellers display "full-fare advertising"-showing the full base airfare to consumers, including all taxes. In addition, it doubles the penalty for violating this law.

Last December, Menendez led a letter to USDOT Secretary Foxx urging the agency to expedite the new proposal announced today for public review and comment.

Menendez has been championing additional consumer protections since 2008, through his Clear Airfares Act.

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