In an effort to combat what he called “unnecessary hidden fees”, President Joe Biden introduced new rules on Monday requiring airlines and travel sites to be more open about any additional fees customers might be charged.
According to a draft news release from the Department of Transportation provided to CNN, under the proposed rule, airlines and travel websites “would have to disclose up front – the first time an airfare is displayed – any fees charged to sit with your child, for changing or canceling your flight, and for checked or carry-on baggage,”
According to Biden, the new rules would result in more carrier competition.
“Capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism,” he said. “It’s exploitation.”
For instance, certain airlines, according to Biden, charge extra for families to sit together. Even for flights that were canceled by the airline, some carriers charge consumers a fee to rebook their travel.
“They cancel on you, and you have to pay a fee to rebook,” Biden said. “Come on, man. It’s just simply not fair. It’s not fair.”
Biden made his remarks at a White House Competition Council meeting. Biden also stated that the group was looking into cutting or eliminating bank overdraft fees and cell phone provider termination fees.
Passengers have the right to know the full cost of their flights before purchasing them, said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a statement on Sunday.
“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,” he said.
Airlines for America, a trade association representing major US airlines, informed CNN in a statement: “A4A member passenger airlines – which are fierce competitors – already offer transparency to consumers from first search to touchdown. US airlines are committed to providing the highest quality of service, which includes clarity regarding prices, fees and ticket terms.”
“A4A passenger carriers provide details regarding the breakdown of airfares on their websites, providing consumers clarity regarding the total cost of a ticket. This includes transparency regarding taxes and government fees on airline tickets, which account for more than 20% of many domestic one-stop, roundtrip tickets.”