LOS ANGELES (CBS) — New U.S. Department of Transportation rules will require airlines to include the cost of all mandatory fees and taxes in the advertised price of an airfare, starting Thursday. Prior to these changes, airlines were allowed to disclose taxes, baggage fees and other charges separately from the fare they advertise to consumers.
The new rules mean that prices will initially seem higher to fare shoppers but will actually better reflect the complete cost of an airplane ticket. Other regulations will also be going into effect that require airlines to disclose potential baggage fees more clearly on the first screen by displaying a price quote for a specific itinerary. Consumers also will have the ability to hold a reservation without payment for 24 hours or cancel a reservation without penalty within 24 hours, as long as reservations are made one week or more before the flight date.
The consumer protection rules, from the Transportation Department, will:
– Require airlines to prominently disclose all ancillary fees on their websites, including fees for checking bags.
– Require airlines to refund baggage fees if bags are lost and promptly refund fares and other fees when they are due.
– Let the department impose fines on U.S. and foreign airlines of up to $27,500 per passenger if they leave an international flight on a tarmac for more than four hours.
– Raise compensation if passengers are bumped from an oversold flight. They’d get double the price of their tickets up to $650 if their arrival at their destination is delayed just a few hours. Currently, compensation is equal to the ticket value, up to $400. Longer delays would trigger payments of four times the value of their tickets, up to $1,300. Currently, that compensation is capped at $800.
The Transportation Department agreed to delay the following provisions until Jan. 24. The provisions require airlines to:
– Disclose bag fees during booking and on e-tickets.
– Promptly notify passengers at the boarding gate, on airline websites and via their phone reservation systems of flight cancellations and delays of more than 30 minutes.
– Allow customers to cancel reservations without payment for at least 24 hours if they’re made at least a week before departure.
– Include all government taxes and fees in advertised fares. Airlines typically exclude them.
– Not raise a fare after a ticket has been bought unless it’s a result of government taxes and fees and the flier agrees to any increase.
– Requirement that the same baggage fees apply through all segments of a passenger’s trip.
To learn more about the new rules, visit TSA.