DOT’s New Law: Simplifies Fares, Expands Passenger Rights

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American Eagle American Airlines Flight

American Eagle

The big news story this week has been the DOT’s decision that government taxes and fees are to be included in all advertised airline fares.

What does this change?

Full Information:

I am sure you have had a sticker shock airfare experience. You know the type when you find a fare that is $100′s cheaper than any other offer. You think you hit the cheap flight jackpot.

You go through the booking process, filling out the passenger information thinking you snagged an amazing deal. Only to be surprised by $100′s in taxes & fees. Making it the exact same price as the fares you were trying to avoid.

You were hoodwinked, bamboozled and misled.

That is what this new law wants to avoid. Under this new regulation government-imposed taxes and fees must be included together in the advertised fare. Great move. Simplification of the booking process plus quicker access to the true cost of a flight.

But who would not agree with a law that gives the consumer full information on the COST of the flight?

Those tacky advertisers, Spirit Airlines, who love to promote their cut rate fares. Their whole modus opperandi is flipped on its head and punted out the door.

Spirit Airlines Fare Rule Law

Don’t believe the exaggeration of Spirit airlines claims. There are no hidden taxes or fees anymore because they must be included in all advertisements. When you review the price it will provide a breakdown of what $$ amount goes to taxes, fees or the fare.

The fares may be higher earlier in the booking process but that does not mean the fares have increased. Only that the actual flight cost is displayed immediately instead of being a surprise later on.

Bag Fees:

The decision to Require the disclosure of bag fees upon booking shows how prominent ancillary fees have become for both consumers and airlines. The consumer feels these are fees that they will have to pay and should be made aware of before the fact. The airlines love these fees because they boost the bottom line in an industry with ever shrinking profit margins.

You can now find a small print disclosure of  added baggage fees displayed next to the price summary or nested in a “review fare rules and restrictions” warning.

Another plus for the consumer comes from the stipulation that the baggage allowance and associated fees must remain consistent throughout the passengers trip. For people who fly a code share flight for travel originating or ending in the U.S. this means that the marketing Airlines policy wins out over the operating airlines. For example if you fly buy your ticket from American Airlines but have a flight on a LAN operated flight you will pay the baggage fees for American Airlines apply for that flight too, not LAN’s.

Consumer Wins:

The consumer comes out on top from this law. If you are somebody who loves to compare airfares across airlines using the OTA, Flight Aggregation Engines this is great news. It used to be the only way to get the final price of a flight would be to go through the entire booking process. Now it is one *click* on the search button away.

This was just part of the new consumer rights that were enacted with this ruling.

Other Benefits:

  • Ban on price increases after purchase of ticket
  • Prompt notification of flight delays >30 minutes
  • NO Fee to Hold or cancel reservation, w/o payment, in first 24 hrs.

All of this should add up to a better experience for the consumer and not leave them feeling cheated after booking a flight.

I hope this will be reflected by the improved moods of my fellow travelers. Let’s return to the days when people were friendly, happy and helpful when flying.

***Please continue the discussion in the comment section below by leaving your thoughts and insight on this topic.***

written by

Head of Travel Swagger Squad at The Travel Abstract Headquarters

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