The Biden administration and the Department of Transportation have been cracking down on airlines and problems with the travel industry. It recently announced that it would propose a new rule requiring airlines and third-party websites to be more transparent about the fees being charged.

ASTA response

The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) has concerns about the Department of Transportation’s proposal. Though it applauds the DOT’s efforts, the ASTA believes fee disclosures may burden travel agencies.

Executive vice president of advocacy Eben Peck believes that the proposed plan is a step in the right direction, meaning that passengers should know precisely what fees will be charged when purchasing airfare.

“That said, ASTA has serious concerns about the effect the requirement to disclose multiple fees in each and every ‘offline’ transaction (over the phone and face-to-face) – even to repeat customers and frequent fliers – will have on agency operations. In its last proposed rulemaking on this topic in 2017, it mandated these disclosures only upon the customer’s request. It should do so again here.” – Eben Peck

DOT Crackdowns

The Department of Transportation has been cracking down on airlines to be fully transparent with passengers regarding delays and compensation. It is now proposing a new rule requiring the transparency of fees. The new rule will require airlines and any travel website to disclose additional fees from the moment the airfare is first displayed. Charges can include seat selection and/or changes, flight changes and cancellations, and carry-on and/or checked baggage.

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

Yesterday, a trial began regarding the Northeast Alliance between JetBlue and American Airlines. The Department of Justice and Department of Transportation argue that the alliance does not promote fair competition within the American airline market.

Early this month, the DOT created and published a new dashboard showing compensation policies for airline delays for ten major airlines in the United States. Previously, no airline’s compensation policy was public information.

The primary catalyst for the creation of the dashboard, and what prompted a response from the airlines, was a letter from transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg. The letter informed airline CEOs that before Labor Day, the DOT would publish a dashboard outlining the airline’s compensation policies and encouraged airlines to improve their plans before the dashboard went live. Airlines responded, and nine of the ten largest United States airlines changed their policies. Now that the information has been made public, the DOT has said that it will hold airlines accountable if they do not follow through.

“Passengers deserve transparency and clarity on what to expect from an airline when there is a cancelation or disruption. This dashboard collects that information in one place so travelers can easily understand their rights, compare airline practices, and make informed decisions. The Department will continue to support passengers and to hold airlines responsible for adhering to their customer obligations.” – Pete Buttigieg, United States Transportation Secretary

What do you think about the rule that will soon be proposed? What are your thoughts on all the scrutiny from the USDOT? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


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