Pro­posal to force air­lines to state bag fees dropped

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Joan Lowy

WASHINGTON» An Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion pro­posal that would have re­quired air­lines to dis­close fees for checked and carry-on bags at the start of a ticket pur­chase rather than later is be­ing dropped by the De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion.

The de­part­ment said in a no­tice posted on­line Thurs­day that it is with­draw­ing the pro­posed rule, along with a sec­ond, early-stage rule mak­ing air­lines dis­close more in­for­ma­tion about their rev­enue from fees charged for ex­tra ser­vices, be­cause the rules would have been “of lim­ited pub­lic ben­e­fit.”

Work on the pro­pos­als was frozen af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump took of­fice.

Air­lines al­ready are re­quired to dis­close bag fees, but crit­ics say the in­for­ma­tion is of­ten hid­den un­til af­ter con­sumers have taken sev­eral steps toward pur­chas­ing a ticket.

Con­gres­sional Democrats and con­sumer groups de­cried the with­drawals, say­ing they would have pro­tected air­line pas­sen­gers by pro­vid­ing greater trans­parency of air­fares and fees.

“The ad­min­is­tra­tion is turning its back on air­line pas­sen­gers just be­fore fam­i­lies are about to head home for the hol­i­days,” said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

Charles Leocha, chair­man of Trav­el­ers United, said pas­sen­gers have no one to pro­tect them from un­fair air­line prac­tices ex­cept the Trans­porta­tion De­part­ment, since no other fed­eral or state agency reg­u­lates air car­ri­ers.

“It is a dere­lic­tion of duty for the DOT to stop its re­view of un­fair and de­cep­tive pric­ing of an­cil­lary fees, which make it im­pos­si­ble for con­sumers to com­par­i­son shop for the best costs of air­fare,” he said.

Be­sides scut­tling the fee trans­parency pro­pos­als, the Trans­porta­tion De­part­ment also has failed to is­sue reg­u­la­tions man­dated by Congress last year to re­quire air­lines to re­fund fees charged for checked bags that are de­layed and en­sure fam­i­lies with young chil­dren can sit to­gether on planes, he said.

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