It’s No Longer Mandatory for Airlines to Disclose Baggage Fees

Pesky airline baggage fees can be a pain in the you-know-what, and unfortunately, these sneaky surcharges are only going to get worse for passengers.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that airlines and third-party booking sites are no longer required to divulge baggage fees when travelers book. The rule, which was proposed during the Obama administration, was initially pushed to provide travelers with greater transparency. Rescinding Obama-era policies, however, the Trump administration said the rules would have “limited public benefit,” according to a report in The Hill.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The DOT also announced that it plans to scrap an effort that forces airlines to reveal how much revenue they rein in from charging ancillary fees. Presently, airlines must display information about optional service fees on their websites, but many claim that this is hard to uncover until they are at the end of the booking process. On top of that, airlines do not have to disclose how much they charge for optional add-ons, including carry-on bags, seat selection, and priority boarding, according to The Hill.

The move faced backlash from travelers and officials, including Senator Richard Blumenthal. “Pulling the plug on rules that would ensure airlines are open and honest about bag fees and other charges is about anti-consumer as it gets,” Blumenthal tweeted. “The Trump Admin’s reckless reversal is a gift for the airlines’ bottom line -- and a slap in the face for travelers who deserve clarity when buying a ticket.” 

Senator Bill Nelson took a similar position, stating that “The administration is turning its back on airline passengers just before families are about to head home for the holidays,” The Washington Post reports.

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