US Department of Transportation scraps baggage disclosure rule for carriers proposed by Obama administration
09 December 2017
An Obama administration proposal that would have required carriers to disclose checked and carry-on bag fees upfront of a ticket purchase rather than later is being scrapped by the Department of Transportation.
According to the department's notice posted online Thursday, it is withdrawing the proposed rule, along with a second, early-stage rule that would force airlines to disclose more information about their revenue from fees charged for extra services, as the rules would have been "of limited public benefit."
It further added that airlines would incur "significant costs" if required to report their revenue from fees for services like early boarding or extra legroom.
Work on the proposals was frozen shortly after president Donald Trump assumed office.
Airlines are already required to disclose bag fees, but according to critics the information is often hidden until after consumers have taken several steps toward purchasing a ticket and is not always clear.
Also travel agents and websites that sell tickets also complain that airlines sometimes do not reveal information on fees, preventing third-party sellers from providing consumers information about the full cost of the airfare.
The move was praised by Airlines for America, an airline industry trade association and transportation secretary Elaine Chao for "recognizing that airlines, like all other businesses, need the freedom to determine which third-parties they do business with and how best to market, display and sell their products."
According to the administration which aims to ease regulatory burdens for businesses the rules would have ''limited public benefit.''
Airlines are already required to disclose information about optional service fees on their websites, but according to consumer groups, it is still difficult for passengers to compare airfare ticket prices, fees and associated rules. They have been pushing for more transparency at the start of the process.
Also while carriers are required to disclose to federal regulators how much money they make from baggage fees, they are not required to report how much they charge for ''optional'' services, such as carry-on bags, seat selection and priority boarding, that have grown in recent years.