Sep 26, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden administration to introduce new transparency rule for airline fees

A traveler uses an American Airlines kiosk in Dulles International Airport

A traveler uses an American Airlines kiosk in Dulles International Airport. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Biden is slated to announce a new rule on Monday that will require airline and travel websites to disclose upfront any additional fees when displaying ticket prices.

Why it matters: The new rule would require these websites to display additional fees — such as for checked luggage, seat selection and flight changes — the first time the airfare price is displayed, according to a Department of Transportation press release.

  • The move comes on top of other efforts the administration has made to boost protections for air travelers, such as proposals for refund requirements and vouchers for passengers unable to travel due to pandemic-related reasons.

The big picture: Biden is expected to formally introduce the proposed rule during a meeting of the White House Competition Council on Monday afternoon.

  • "The proposal seeks to provide customers the information they need to choose the best deal," the Department of Transportation said in the press release.
  • "Otherwise, surprise fees can add up quickly and overcome what may look at first to be a cheap fare," it added.
  • Biden is also expected to call on all federal agencies to pursue similar policies to root out hidden fee practices in other sectors.
  • The rule's proposal will be followed by a 60 day window for public comment before being finalized, per the Washington Post.

What they're saying: “Airline passengers deserve to know the full, true cost of their flights before they buy a ticket,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in the press 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," Buttigieg added.

The other side: Aviation industry group Airlines for America said in a statement that its "member passenger airlines — which are fierce competitors — already offer transparency to consumers from first search to touchdown,” CNBC reported.

Go deeper