The Trump administration has scrapped an Obama-era proposal requiring airlines and ticket agencies to disclose baggage fees as soon as passengers start the process of buying a ticket.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) posted a notice on the Federal Register this week that it is withdrawing the proposed rule, along with another plan to force air carriers to disclose how much revenue they make from charging other ancillary fees.
The administration, which has made easing regulatory burdens for businesses a top priority, said the rules would have “limited public benefit.”
Airlines are already required to disclose information about optional service fees on their websites. But consumer groups say it’s still difficult for passengers to compare airfare ticket prices, fees and associated rules, and have pushed for more transparency at the start of the process.
And while airlines are required to disclose to federal regulators how much money they make from baggage fees, they are not required to report how much they charge for “optional” services, such as carry-on bags, seat selection and priority boarding, which have grown in recent years.
The DOT’s effort to kill the pair of Obama-era proposals drew ire from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who has been one of the leading voices in Congress pushing for airline consumer protections
“Unbelievable. Pulling the plug on rules that would ensure airlines are open and honest about bag fees and other charges is about as anti-consumer as it gets,” Blumenthal tweeted. “The Trump Admin’s reckless reversal is a gift for the airlines’ bottom line — and a slap in the face for travelers who deserve clarity when buying a ticket.”
BY MELANIE ZANONA – 12/08/17 12:06 PM EST