AP: Bill to revert to old system of advertising airfare moving ahead at “mach” speed

Should airlines be allowed to advertised fares that do not include taxes and fees? Screengrab: Kayak.

Should airlines be allowed to advertised fares that do not include taxes and fees? Screengrab: Kayak.

We may have some bad news for those of you who like straight-forward airfares.

According to the Associated Press, a bill favored by the airline industry that would allow carriers to revert to their old practice of advertising fares without taxes is moving through Congress at “mach speed.”

As you know, a lot of bills tend to just languish in Congress. And when I wrote about the “Transparent Airfares Act of 2014 — last month for our newspapers, I figured this bill would be the same. Consumers, who are also voters, don’t like it. I figured the proposed legislation would just die, perhaps to be reintroduced in a future Congress.

But apparently Washington watchers think otherwise. The AP seems to be suggest that the bill could become law. That would mean an airline could once again advertise a $99 fare, without saying that the actual ticket would end up costing about $35 more, due to all those taxes and government fees.

The AP says the airlines have stepped up their lobbying game in recent years.

“Thirty airlines spent nearly $30 million on lobbying and employed 213 lobbyists last year, according to the political money-tracking website OpenSecrets.org,” reporter Joan Lowy wrote.

The story also notes that bill sponsor Bill Shuster, R-Pa., the  House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman, …”has received $64,900 in airline contributions so far in this election season, making him the top congressional recipient of airline contributions.” On top of that, he has taken $22,500 from air transport unions, according to the story.

What do you think? Will this bill become law? Might it languish in the Senate? Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., has already announce that he wants to try to block it.

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  • George286

    There is no justification for this bill other than to confuse travelers. Unlike sales taxes, the taxes and fees on airline fares are readily determinable and it is reasonable to require airlines to state the entire amount. I am not sure what airlines hope to gain from this misleading tactic either, they might be able to show lower fares but because they will all do it there will be no competitive advantage. Congressman Shuster is certainly for sale though, thank you SCOTUS for bringing dignity back to buying legislators.