GOP To Introduce Legislation To Kill Aviation
Consumer Protection Rules
By Mike Mitchell
January 31, 2012 - Rep. Tom Graves announced he will introduce legislation to cancel a series of Department of Transportation (DOT) aviation consumer protection rules that include requiring airlines to show all costs at the time an airline ticket is purchased, providing baggage refunds, mandating that airlines cannot impose increases to a ticket once it has been purchased, requiring ticket refunds, among other regulations that protect consumers.
In addition the GOP House of Representatives is also attempting to remove the Tarmac Rule which prohibits airlines from keeping passengers on the tarmac for over three hours. Congress is proposing the FAA Reauthorization Bill that will exclude this rule. It appears that although Rep. Graves is on the people?s payroll, he is working for the airlines.
United Continental Airlines? CEO called the Tarmac Rule stupid. As a result of this rule passengers are no longer stuck on the tarmac such as in the case of United Flight 270 when passengers were stranded on the tarmac nearly nine hours. DOT?s new regulations help ensure that consumers are treated fairly when they travel by air.
new provisions of the airline consumer rule issued by DOT
requires airlines and ticket agents include all mandatory taxes
and fees in published airfares and that they disclose baggage
fees to consumers buying tickets.
companies argued that the regulations hinder the airlines free
speech rights, preventing consumers from recognizing the
"significant tax burden on air travel in a clear and conspicuous
matter." In other words, they, the airlines wanted to hide these
fees to give the consumer the impression the purchase price of
the ticket was cheaper but in fact the ticket cost more.
purchasers have welcomed DOT?s aviation consumer protection
rules which bring about more transparency in airline pricing. In
a scare tactic Spirit Airlines, sent out e-mails to scare the
public by stating, ?WARNING: New government regulations require
us to HIDE taxes in your fares.?
you wonder who Rep. Graves is working for and whose interest is
he truly acting on. Graves said, ?The federal government should
not be inserting itself in the private sector to limit
consumers? ability to see how much they?re getting taxed. If the
American people can?t see these costs clearly, I fear it will be
easier these fees and taxes to be raised without their
So you wonder who Rep. Graves is working for and whose interest is he truly acting on. Graves said, ?The federal government should not be inserting itself in the private sector to limit consumers? ability to see how much they?re getting taxed. If the American people can?t see these costs clearly, I fear it will be easier these fees and taxes to be raised without their knowledge.?
?If the goal of
the DOT?s rule is to prevent companies from deceiving passengers about
the total cost of their ticket, why is the department mandating that
airlines hide the taxes, surcharges, and government fees in the fine
print? Transparency and
honesty in ticket pricing should apply across the board no matter if the
cost charged to Americans is in the form of airfare, taxes, or
?Let?s list the
various charges, line by line. What?s wrong with letting the flying
public know where their money is going?
Making these taxes and fees invisible or hard to find will no
doubt increase advertised airfare prices and decrease transparency.
And, the taxpayers will be left holding the bag.?
statement is true, but what he states and what he does is two different
things. He is telling the American people one thing and behind closed
doors he is doing just the opposite. If Rep. Graves wants to introduce
legislation to cancel DOT?s new consumer protection rules he needs to
propose new regulations that will improve on DOT?s new consumer
protection rules. Not just talk the talk. If he wants to take these
regulations off the table then he first needs to put his plan on the
table for the American people to see. Rep. Graves was hired by the
people not the airlines.
Recently, the DOT
changed the rules that apply to air travel pricing. Until January 26,
2012, most airlines advertised the cost of airfare, excluding additional
federal fees and taxes, cost for baggage, etc. The DOT?s new rule now
requires any company selling airline tickets to show all additional
taxes and fees in the total advertised price of the fare. This does not
mean hide these fees as Rep. Graves would suggest.
In addition to the passenger protections, DOT requires baggage fee refunds if an airline loses your luggage and increased compensation if you're involuntarily bumped from an oversold flight. Airlines do not like this.
DOT?s effort is to
make sure that the consumer can easily determine the full price for air
transportation before travel. Arriving at the airport only to be hit
with surprise fees is no way to start a trip. The new protections
require that airlines and ticket agents include all mandatory taxes and
fees in their published airfares and that they disclose baggage fees
when you buy your ticket. Also airlines and ticket agents are prohibited
from increasing the price of your ticket after it is purchased.
Ray LaHood said, ?I?ve said many times that airline passengers have
rights, and they should be able to expect fair and reasonable treatment
when booking a trip and when they fly. The protections ? are another
step forward in our ongoing effort to help air travelers receive the
respect they deserve. But we are far from done.?
looking at other possible measures, including requiring that all
optional fees be disclosed wherever consumers can book a flight. It?s
simple, we think that treating passengers fairly is the right thing to
do. I?m proud of the work DOT's Aviation Consumer Protection and
Enforcement team has done, and I know they will continue working to make
flying more convenient and agreeable for our nation's air travelers.?
In addition if you
make your reservation one week or more prior to a flight?s departure
date, customers can hold a reservation without payment, or cancel a
booking without penalty, for 24 hours after the reservation is made.
And, when you're
traveling, airlines will be required to promptly notify passengers of
flight delays of 30 minutes or more, as well as flight cancellations and
The rule enhances
airline passenger protections by:
airlines and ticket agents to include all mandatory taxes and fees in
published airfares and that they disclose baggage fees to consumers
airlines to refund baggage fees if they are lost;
? Allowing passengers to hold a reservation without payment, or cancel a booking without penalty, for 24 hours after the reservation is made, if they make the reservation one week or more prior to a flight?s departure; and
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