With New Holiday Airfare Surcharges In Effect, Menendez Announces Updated "Clear Airfares" Legislation

With New Holiday Airfare Surcharges In Effect, Menendez Announces Updated "Clear Airfares" Legislation

Today is one of the days on which holiday fees of up to $50 are in effect

Newark - This year, airlines have instituted a new holiday surcharge of as much as $50 per flight on the busiest travel days during the holiday season, including today. However, for consumers it requires clicking to peripheral web pages and wading through often confusing text to understand whether or not their airfare includes these surcharges and what other taxes and fees may have been added.

In response, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) announced today at Newark Liberty International Airport that he will introduce an updated version of his airfare transparency legislation this week. The Clear Airfares Act would ensure that, before a customer is required to submit personal or payment information, he or she is given a full and clear breakdown of his or her particular airfare, as well as any other possible fees that might be incurred on the flight (such as baggage, meal, and pet fees).

"For too long, it has been too difficult for airline passengers to figure out exactly what they are paying for when they buy a ticket," said Menendez. "Trying to navigate through the different components in your airfare is like an airline pilot trying to land a plane in a thunderstorm without electronic instruments or a map - it's technically possible, but it sure isn't easy. What airline passengers deserve is something much simpler and clearer.

"It is no small gesture that during this holiday season, families are shelling out their hard-earned money to visit loved ones at a time when so many are out of work or fearful that they are the next to lose their job. The least they should be able to expect from the airlines is a straight-forward transaction. The least they deserve - now more than ever - is to know exactly what they are paying for, so they can best decide how to spend their money."

The legislation would 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. This would include disclosure of possible fees that would be applied after the ticket is purchased.

Last year, in addition to pushing for greater transparency in airfares, Senator Menendez pressed airlines to cease using the "fuel surcharge" label months after fuel prices had receded from their peak (http://menendez.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/?id=58767630-9cae-4a47-b6bd-cb18cf81c8a6). After this effort by Menendez, airlines eventually stopped using the term "fuel surcharge." The Clear Airfares legislation includes language that requires that any fuel surcharges be correlated with the price of jet fuel.

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