Biden Administration Reveals New Rules Requiring Airlines to Disclose Fee Schedules

President Joe Biden announced new air travel regulations, this week, which requires both airlines and online travel agencies to disclose their fees for various ticketing add-ons like seat selection and checked baggage. The new policy is the administration’s most recent attempt to solidify passenger protections after a less-than-favorable summer travel season—and as we head into the nearly-as-busy holiday travel season.

Indeed, summer travelers were plagued with tens of thousands of flight delays and cancellations. This is what prompted Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to direct the DoT to provide a means for passengers to compare fee information in a simple dashboard, which inform which delays or cancellations are caused by factors within the control of the largest US air travel providers.

In addition to this, it is widely known that passenger airlines charge travelers different fees for a wide variety of “perks,” these days. The fees are new, but the perks are not, as these things used to be included with the price of ticket (most notably, the ability to check at least one bag and bring a carry-on as well; and seat selection within a section of the cabin).

The proposed rule will require both airline and travel sites to “disclose, up front—the first time an airfare is displayed—any fees charges to sit with your child, for changing, or cancelling your flight, and for checked or carry-on baggage,” as described in a recent Department of Transportation news release.

In a recent news release, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg commented, “Airline passengers deserve to know the full, true cost of their flights before they buy a ticket.” He goes on to say that the proposed regulation will require that airlines are “transparent with customers about the fees they charge, which will help travelers make informed decisions and save money.”

Accordingly, air carriers and online travel agencies have begun to update their websites to dictate the lowest-price tickets. Airlines often call these “economy tickets” and they typically have zero features aside from a guaranteed seat. Apparently commercial air travel companies use this as an incentive to motivate travelers to spend more money on tickets that offer more flexible accommodation.