No, Airlines Aren’t Going To Start Advertising Fares Without Taxes Included, Why Do You Ask?

The current version of the FAA reauthorization bill in the House, a product of compromise between Republicans and Democrats on the Transportation Committee, would reverse an Obama-era rule requiring airlines to display ‘all-in’ pricing when they advertise fares “as long as they include a link to the all-in price or disclose it some other way.”

Formally, the bill’s language says that failing to include taxes and government fees when showing pricing wouldn’t be considered unfair or deceptive (and therefore would be outside the reach of Department of Transportation regulation) as long as those taxes and fees were readily available via popup or link.

What on earth is Congress thinking? Simple. Republicans in the House want to own the libs.

This is merely language coming out of committee. This hasn’t been passed by the House, and is not in any Senate bill under consideration. Not only would the full House have to vote for it (and it’s not clear that all Republicans support looking anti-consumer, Biden’s crusade polls well) but the Democrat-controlled Senate would have to vote for it as well, moving in the opposite direction from Biden administration rhetoric during an election year.

Some Republicans would love to put President Biden in the position of signing legislation that reduces fee transparency while campaigning for more transparency. But it’s precisely because of those political optics that this issue will be high profile, and why Democrats in the Senate can’t allow it in final legislation.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Yea the only thing we can count on is messaging legislation that goes nowhere and does nothing—anything actually passing that would actually improve the life of ordinary citizens seems to be the impossible dream. My nut job congressman is worried about the availability of gas stoves and chocolate milk in the schools. He’s sponsoring legislation to help ensure that no sex other than M or F every appears on a US passport. It’s a good thing we don’t have real problems to solve because we spend all our time on garbage like this.
    Stuff to please big money donors are the only thing that has a chance of actually becoming law…. That is why people might think powerful corporations like airlines might actually get what they want. The notion that people might think this actually happens is not beyond reasonable belief given how things actually work around her. .

  2. Including taxes and fees in displayed price is a government wet dream – people buying tickets will have no clue they are paying ~1/3 of the ticket price in taxes, fees, and government surcharges.

  3. Have the Republicans proposing this anti-consumer rule change attempted to provide any justification for their position? Truly disgraceful behavior.

  4. Thank goodness the Republicans don’t run the country.

    The disdain they have for taxpayers is disgusting.

    And if it’s only posturing, it’s even worse: they should be working on improving people’s lives and not literally wasting it on issues like these. Truly disgusting.

  5. @Gary – It’s a bit simplistic to blame Republicans for the language in this bill, since it was introduced by Rick Larsen (D-WA) and Sam Graves (R-MO) and has full support of committee leadership on both sides. If you’re going to hold this up as Republicans trying to own the libs, I think you need to cite some evidence.

  6. Is there any other industry that requires all in advertised pricing with tax when comparing?
    I can’t think of anywhere else where the government mandates an industry to show government taxes as the “fare” when it isn’t.
    Not hotels, rail, Cars, etc

    I enjoy knowing the all in price as well for my airfare but it is strange that aviation seems to be the only place the government tries to mask its huge taxation of its people on an airfare

  7. @maxpower, you’re right; it would be ideal to require the full price everywhere, and we’d be like just about every other country in doing that. When I’m traveling and see a price stated in the local currency, I know in most instances that’s the actual price I’ll pay.

  8. Gary – Articles like this are why you are still one of the best in the business. Your real world experience shines through when it comes to analyzing real topics and sets you apart from most of your counterparts. While I admit that some of your “conversation generating” posts annoy me, your insight, humor, generally independent viewpoints and ability to grind out content keep me coming back and enjoying your blog on a daily basis. Just wanted to offer you a quick thank you.

  9. @MaxPower

    Try gasoline prices… they are not allowed to show the taxes and any other government imposed fees separately.

  10. I. Support showing all inclusive pricing but there should also be disclosures about the taxes included in pricing.

  11. How about doing the same with hotel rooms? By the time they add the local bed tax, cleaning fees, etc the price doubles from what is advertised as the room rate.

  12. @C. Arthur

    Who is “they”?

    I can’t speak to the other 49 states, but at gasoline pumps I see in Texas, there is a sticker that clearly states that the per-gallon price includes 18.4 cents in Federal Taxes, and 20.0 cents in State Taxes. Those wishing to do the math can easily determine that equals a total of 38.4 cents/gallon of taxes.

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