New consumer protection from hidden airline fees
On January 26th, the Department of Transportation has enacted a new safety measure for airline consumers to protect them against “hidden fees” and taxes that often aren’t disclosed until the “purchase” button is pushed. Now, when a flight is booked, the DOT mandate requires airlines to disclose the total cost. An additional rule requires the airline to allow refunds and changes on non-refundable tickets for up to 24 hours for purchased tickets without a penalty as long as there are at least 7 days before the actual flight.
Spirit Airlines has recently been fined for not disclosing the total amount of ticket prices and has also added a warning sign to their online booking site that expresses the company’s distain for the new rules. In addition they are now charging and additional $2 for each ticket and telling passengers it is for the “Department of Transportation Unintended Consequences Fee.”
Spirit Airline’s obvious displeasure over the fining and the fees is also
gathering a number of angry responses from consumers. A visit to the Spirit Airlines website now shows the popup has been toned down and appears on their heading instead and states “New Government Regulations require us to HIDE taxes in your fares.” The wording implies the Government wrong-doing, when in fact the fees have always been present, just not shown.
This policy is causing waves and several airlines have been caught up in fines for not disclosing the full amount of the ticket – read about it here. The cost to the additional fees charged by Spirit Airlines may become an industry standard but the ruling of this law may be in jeapordy as Rob Lovitt reports on Overhead Bin.
The FAA today received word they were granted the $63 billion dollar FAA budget that will give the agency the funds needed to update the failing airline traffic control system and maintain federal regulations. Joan Lowy has a great article listed here.
This year is proving to be an interesting year for the airline industry and there is no telling what will happen. Stay informed and check out TravelNewsYouCanUse for more information.