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How much does your airline ticket really cost? Trump doesn’t want you to know

Reuters/Edgar Su
There’s a fare and fee for every color of the rainbow.
By Leslie Josephs
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

US president Donald Trump’s administration has decided to shelve two proposals designed to shed more light on airline ticket pricing.

The Department of Transportation last week halted public comment an Obama-era proposal that would require airlines to list baggage fees alongside base airfares. Those fees brought in close to $4 billion in 2015 for US airlines.

Understandably, airlines cheered the decision. The rule “would have allowed the government to dictate how airlines sell and distribute products and services,” said Airlines for America, a trade group that represents large US carriers.

The administration also suspended its request for information about how airlines provide fares to third-party ticket vendors, like online travel agencies. Currently, airlines are not required by law to offer the same fares on their websites as they do to the well-known online travel sites that many people use to book their holidays now.

Steve Shur, president of the Travel Technology Association, whose members include TripAdvisor and Expedia, said he hopes the delay is temporary and urged the Department of Transportation to “adhere to its mandate on consumer protection by ensuring consumers have access to all the information they need to make a purchasing decision.”

It comes as US airfares and fees are more confusing than ever. Carriers have introduced in the past several years a host of new airfare classes including premium economy and bare bones basic economy. Those are in addition for fees for checked luggage, decent legroom, and early boarding, so some clarity on these costs would only help consumers make more informed decisions.

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