Biden to require airlines, travel sites to disclose all fees to air travelers

The Biden administration is announcing a proposed rule that would require airlines and travel search sites to include all fees in airline ticket prices that are displayed to customers, as part of a broader federal effort to help consumers cope with rising inflation.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) said President Biden will announce the initiative Monday afternoon at a meeting of the White House Competition Council.

The Council is a response to rising prices that Republicans say are caused by excessive government spending and drastic COVID-19 lockdowns. The Biden administration blames the increases on “hidden fee practices” that “plague customers” in several industries.

“Airline passengers deserve to know the full, true cost of their flights before they buy a ticket,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “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.”

DOT’s proposed rule would require U.S. and foreign carriers, ticket agents and online travel search sites to immediately disclose all baggage, cancellation and seating fees as part of the ticket price customers see.

“These fees would be required to be displayed as passenger-specific or itinerary-specific based on the consumer’s choice,” DOT said. “The proposal seeks to provide customers the information they need to choose the best deal. Otherwise, surprise fees can add up quickly and overcome what may look at first to be a cheap fare.”

The department added it will accept public comment on the proposed rule for 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

The rule is one of dozens of initiatives that several federal agencies are pursuing as part of the Biden administration’s competition initiative. The administration sees growing corporate consolidation as a problem that leads to less competition and “drives up prices for consumers and drives down wages for workers.”

Airlines for America (A4A), an association of major carriers including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and JetBlue, defended the pricing practices of its members and said they are already highly transparent.

“U.S. airlines are committed to providing the highest quality of service, which includes clarity regarding prices, fees and ticket terms,” Marli Collier, communications manager for the association told FOX News Digital. “A4A passenger carriers provide details regarding the breakdown of airfares on their websites, providing consumers clarity regarding the total cost of a ticket.”

Werner Kunz-Cho, the CEO of Fareportal, told Fox News Digital his company supports the goal of transparency for customers and said, “this proposed DOT rule is no exception.”

“As air travel products have continued to evolve, our brands, CheapOair and OneTravel, have always maintained a focus on the customer experience to ensure consumers can see the prices of the various options available to them,” he said. “We are currently participating in the rule making process and will collaborate with the many stakeholders to ensure that the final rules align with industry best practices and make it easy for consumers to understand their options.”

Collier added that government fees are also a big reason why tickets can become expensive.

“This includes transparency regarding taxes and government fees on airline tickets, which account for more than 20 percent of many domestic one-stop, roundtrip tickets,” Collier said.

Several airlines and travel sites, including United, Delta, Southwest, Orbitz, Expedia and Travelocity, did not respond to Fox News Digital for comment by the time of publication.