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Rules for airfare transparency go into effect next month

Consumer Reports News: December 30, 2011 01:38 PM

Starting January 26, new rules will require airlines and other ticket sellers to disclose all fees associated with the price of a ticket upfront, so that you know what the final cost of your ticket will be at the beginning, not the end, of your transaction.

The rules also require that all fees and taxes be included in advertising.

These regulations were originally supposed to go into effect along with other rules earlier this year, but were delayed because airlines said they would need more time to comply.

The Department of Transportation began implementing air passenger protections last January. Other provisions that went into effect in August limited tarmac waits and required compensation (in certain scenarios) for passengers bumped from oversold flights, among other measures.

According to CNN, Southwest Airlines, Allegiant Air and Spirit Airlines have all filed legal appeals to have the rule regarding transparent airfare overturned in the U.S. Court of Appeals in the D.C. circuit. The airlines say that the rule violates commercial free speech rights.

Other provisions to take effect next month include requirements that airlines:

  • Promptly notify passengers if a flight is cancelled or delayed by more than 30 minutes. Notification could include cell phone alerts, website updates, or an announcement at the check-in counter.
  • Let customers cancel reservations without penalty for at least 24 hours if they are made at least one week before the scheduled flight.
  • Apply the same baggage fees and allowances throughout a trip, and disclose baggage fees specifically when booking and during e-ticket confirmation.
  • Not raise a fare after a ticket has been bought, unless due to increased government taxes and fees.

For more about these airline regulations you can see our coverage from earlier this year when the DOT announced the new rules: Good news for airline passengers: DOT strengthens rights. For a rundown of the best and worst airlines from our report this summer click here. Airline Ratings are available to subscribers.

Previously: New rules to protect airline passengers go into effect Tuesday

Rule coming to improve airfare transparency [CNN]

Maggie Shader


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