Clear Airfare Amendment would require total price quote on air tickets

If you’ve ever been broadsided by unexpected taxes, fees and surcharges when you booked an airline ticket, then fire up your email program now and send a letter to your senator. Ask him or her to support the Clear Airfare Amendment that Sen. Robert Menendez introduced this morning.

The amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Bill (PDF), which will be considered by the Senate next week, is simple: It requires airlines and travel agents to disclose the full price of a ticket, including taxes and fees, right up front. (Other governments, including Australia and Europe, already do this.)

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But there’s more. The amendment would also make them disclose any fees for checked baggage, seating assignments, and optional in-flight goods and services, and other fees that may be charged after the ticket is purchased — all prior to submitting any personal information.

This goes a long way to disclosing a “total” price and would allow air travelers to easily and fairly compare airfares.

Here’s the full amendment:

Purpose: To ensure that all consumers are able to easily and fairly compare airfares and other costs applicable to tickets for air transportation, including all taxes and fees.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES-111th Cong., 2d Sess.
H.R.1586

AMENDMENT intended to be proposed by Mr. MENENDEZ to the amendment (No. 3452) proposed by Mr. ROCKEFELLER

Viz:

At the end of subtitle A of title IV, add the following:

SEC. 407. NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS WITH RESPECT TO THE SALE OF AIRLINE TICKETS.

(a) IN GENERAL.-The Office of Aviation Consumer Protection and Enforcement of the Department of Transportation shall establish rules to ensure that all consumers are able to easily and fairly compare airfares and other costs applicable to tickets for air transportation, including all taxes and fees.

(b) NOTICE OF TAXES AND FEES APPLICABLE TO TICKETS FOR AIR TRANSPORTATION.-Section 41712, as amended by this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following:

(d) NOTICE OF TAXES AND FEES APPLICABLE TO TICKETS FOR AIR TRANSPORTATION.-

IN GENERAL.-It shall be an unfair or deceptive practice under subsection (a) for an air carrier, foreign air carrier, or ticket agent to sell a ticket for air transportation unless the air carrier, foreign air carrier, or ticket agent, as the case may be-

“(A) displays information with respect to the taxes and fees described in paragraph (2), including the amount and a description of each such tax or fee, simultaneously with and in reasonable proximity to the price listed for the ticket; and

“(B) in the case of a ticket for air transportation sold on the Internet, provides to the purchaser of the ticket information with respect to the taxes and fees described in paragraph (2), including the amount and a description of each such tax or fee, before requiring the purchaser to provide any personal information, including the name, address, phone number, e-mail address, or credit card information of the purchaser.

“(2) TAXES AND FEES DESCRIBED.-The taxes and fees described in this paragraph are all taxes, fees, and charges applicable to a ticket for air transportation, including-

“(A) all taxes, fees, charges, and surcharges included in the price paid by a purchaser for the ticket, including fuel surcharges and surcharges relating to peak or holiday travel and

“(B) any fees for checked baggage, seating assignments, and optional in-flight goods and services, and other fees that may be charged after the ticket is purchased.”.

(c) REGULATIONs.-The Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, shall prescribe such regulations as may be necessary to carry out subsection (d) of section 41712 of title 49, United States Code, as added by subsection (b) of this section.

Contact your senator now.

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