North Carolina Department of Justice
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Attorneys General Stein to USDOT: Require Airlines to Disclose Baggage Fees Upfront

Release date: 12/19/2017

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today urged the U.S. Department of Transportation not to withdraw a rule to require airlines and third-party booking companies to disclose baggage fees and other charges upfront.

“Air travel can be stressful and expensive enough as it is,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “It’s even more frustrating when a ticket price jumps up due to hidden fees. Passengers have a right to know the true cost of buying their airline tickets on the front end so they can find the best deal.”

The Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees rule, proposed in January 2017, would have made it easier for consumers to understand the full cost of their plane tickets. When a customer books a ticket, the baseline price is typically all that is shown. Carry-on baggage fees, checked baggage fees, seat fees, and more are not disclosed until booking is nearly complete – or even after tickets have been purchased. The rule would have required airlines to post all the fees up front at the beginning of the booking process – instead of surprising consumers at the end.

The Transportation Department announced earlier this month it was withdrawing the rule, which was proposed during the final days of the Obama administration.  The Department said in a notice posted online that the rule would have been “of limited public benefit.”

According to a 2016 study, travelers paid an average of $100 in fees per round-trip on Spirit airlines, $97 on Frontier and $86.92 on United. U.S. airlines are expected to earn $57 billion from these fees this year - and $7 billion from baggage fees alone.

Attorney General Stein is joined by the Attorneys General of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia in sending today’s letter.

Contact:
Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484

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