Biden administration to propose new rules for airline fees requiring more transparency

President Joe Biden plans to announce new rules on Monday that would require airlines and online travel agencies to disclose fees for seat selection, checked baggage and other add-ons along with fares, the administration’s latest effort to bolster passenger protections after a rocky summer travel season.

Airlines charge travelers for a number of additional perks, which used to come with the cost of a ticket, including a fee for advanced selection for many seats on board, even those without extra legroom.

Image: Passengers watch planes take off at Los Angeles International Airport on Aug. 10, 2022.
Passengers watch planes take off at Los Angeles International Airport on Aug. 10, 2022.Chris Delmas / AFP via Getty Images

“Airline passengers deserve to know the full, true cost of their flights before they buy a ticket,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a news release. “This new proposed rule would require airlines to be transparent with customers about the fees they charge, which will help travelers make informed decisions and save money.”

Carriers and online travel agencies have updated their websites in recent years to call out basic economy tickets, airlines’ most restrictive but cheaper fares. Airline executives have said they want passengers to avoid those tickets in favor of more flexible standard economy tickets.

Airlines for America, which represents most major U.S. airlines, didn’t immediately comment on the proposed changes.

The Biden administration’s proposal comes less than two months after the Transportation Department sought stricter standards for when airlines have to refund travelers for delays.

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