Airlines, or at least their trade group, are reacting to President Joe Biden’s comments on Monday to crack down on hidden fees. Needless to say, they don’t like it.
On Monday, following a meeting of the White House Competition Council, Biden continued his administration’s scrutiny of airlines by proposing new rules regarding transparency in pricing. Biden said it would protect consumers and force airlines to be more competitive.
Less than a day later, Nicholas Calio, the CEO of Airlines for America (A4A), was asked on The Today Show if such rules were necessary.
“No, they are not necessary,” Calio said Tuesday morning.
Calio suggested that because airlines are competing for the flying public’s dollar, that alone is enough for domestic carriers to already be transparent about their pricing and fee structure. Fees include such things as extra bags, overweight luggage, seating assignments, and ticket change fees.
“We don’t need, really, the government to tell us to (be transparent about fees),” Calio said. “Our carriers are so fiercely competitive, it’s unbelievable.”
But Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who appeared as a guest on The Today Show right after Calio’s comments, disagreed.
“Right now, we still have too many situations where passengers, you think you’re getting a low fare, you think you’re getting a great deal, but it wasn’t obvious what the (ancillary) fees were.”
Biden’s proposed rules on transparency will now go to a 60-day public comment period. Under the new initiative, airlines, third-party sellers, and travel metasearch sites would be required to clearly disclose passenger- or itinerary-specific surcharges upfront.
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