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Department of Transportation Refuses Request By Major US Airlines to Push Back Date They Have to Start Displaying ‘Junk Fees’ Upfront

Department of Transportation Refuses Request By Major US Airlines to Push Back Date They Have to Start Displaying ‘Junk Fees’ Upfront

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The Department of Transportation has refused a request by a Washington DC-based lobby group that represents major US airlines to delay the date that they will have to start displaying surprise ‘junk fees’ upfront.

Back in April, the Biden administration announced that it had created a final rule that would require airlines to display fees like the cost to check a bag or cancel or change a ticket.

The rule will not only apply to tickets sold on an airline’s own website but also to third-party search aggregator sites like Expedia. The idea behind the rule is to stop airlines from advertising low base fares that quickly shoot up in cost when additional fees are taken into consideration.

American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, and United Airlines, along with industry lobby group Airlines 4 America, are challenging the rule with a lawsuit in the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and want the start date for the rule delayed until the case has been heard.

Airlines 4 America (A4A) believes that the ‘junk fee’ rule will cost airlines between $5 million and $10 million each to share the necessary data with third-party websites that sell their tickets.

The DOT told A4A on Monday, however, that this cost estimate was nothing more than conjecture and that delaying implementation of the rule would not serve the public interest.

As it stands, the rule will go into effect on July 1, but airlines will have until October 30 to supply ancillary fee data to third-party ticket agents. Other regulatory requirements of the rule aren’t expected to come into force until April 30, 2025.

“There is strong public interest in the Rule’s protections for American consumers against unfair and deceptive practices in air transportation, and the public interest is best served by allowing the Rule to go into effect,” the DOT’s Assistant General Counsel for the Office of Aviation Consumer Protection told A4A in a letter dated June 10.

“The Ancillary Service Fees Rule is a lawful and critical piece of the Department’s efforts to protect American consumers from unfair and deceptive practices by air carriers,” the letter continued.

In their lawsuit against the rule, the six major US airlines have argued that the DOT is overstepping its regulatory power, describing the rule as “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and otherwise contrary to law.”

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