Victory For Air Travelers: Menendez 'Clear Airfares' Legislation Included In Senate Aviation Bill

Victory For Air Travelers: Menendez 'Clear Airfares' Legislation Included In Senate Aviation Bill

When law, it will require airlines and travel sites to display all potential fees, charges and taxes in a clear and upfront manner

Washington - As part of the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, which passed the U.S. Senate by a 93-0 vote today, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) successfully included a slightly-modified version of his Clear Airfares Act as an amendment to the legislation. Menendez's provision aims to bring transparency to the price of flying through a full, clear and upfront breakdown of airfares. Before a consumer purchases a ticket on the Internet, the legislation would require airlines and third-party websites to give consumers a complete and understandable breakdown of his or her particular airfare, as well as any other possible fees that might be incurred on the flight (such as baggage, seat assignments, etc.). The Senate and House of Representatives now must negotiate and pass a final version of the FAA bill before it goes to President Barack Obama to be signed into law.

Currently, consumers must click to peripheral web pages and wade through often confusing text to understand whether or not their airfare includes surcharges and what other taxes and fees may have been added.

"Money is tight, and families more than ever need to know what they are paying for, " said Menendez. "Too often, trying to decipher your airfare is like trying to land a jet in a thunderstorm with no instruments - technically possible, but difficult. Families deserve an honest transaction, including a clear and upfront breakdown of what they are paying for and what they might have to pay when they get to the airport. I am pleased that this has been included in the legislation, and I am eager to see it become law. As with all legislation, to be effective, the Executive Branch will need to enforce this law in order for it to be effective, so I look forward to working with the Department of Transportation as they implement these provisions."

This provision is co-sponsored by Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Jim Webb (D-VA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). It has gained the support of major consumer groups including:

• Consumer Federation of America: http://menendez.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/ConsumerFederationClearAirfares.pdf

• Consumer Travel Alliance: http://menendez.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/ConsumerTravelAllianceClearAirfares.pdf

• FlyersRights.org: http://menendez.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/FlyersRightsClearAirfares.pdf

The Menendez Clear Airfares provision would direct the Department of Transportation to formulate rules that require airlines or third-party websites to clearly and conspicuously disclose any fees, charges or surcharges, including holiday fees, for consumers to be able to clearly view before having to input their name and credit card information.


###