Airlines Are Now Required to Disclose Hidden Fees so You Know What You're Paying For

The Department of Transportation is seeking more transparency for travelers.

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On Monday, the Biden administration issued a new set of rules for airlines that requires them to disclose hidden fees ahead of time. A change of pace in this day and age, huh? 

If passed, the Transportation Department's updated guidelines would mandate that both carriers and online travel agencies must include fees—for seat selection, checked baggage, and other add-ons—upfront, rather than sneaking them in at the end, CNBC reports.

"You should know the full cost of your ticket, right when you're comparison shopping," President Biden said in a speech at the White House Competition Council this week. 

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg argues that the proposed rule will finally hold airlines accountable, requiring them "to be transparent with customers about the fees they charge," noting that it "will help travelers make informed decisions and save money." 

But according to Airlines for America, carriers are already doing that.

"A4A member passenger airlines—which are fierce competitors—already offer transparency to customers from first search to touchdown," the organization, which represents major US airlines, said in a statement to CNBC. "US airlines are committed to providing the highest quality of service, which includes clarity regarding prices, fees, and ticket terms." 

Even when those fees are included somewhere "upfront," in my experience, it's in the fine print, which you might not even know is there, rather than within the fare price. Now that would be transparency. 

The proposal marks yet another move by the Biden administration to hold the travel industry accountable. In fact, just a few months back, the Transportation Department implemented stricter standards that would require airlines to refund its passengers for delays

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Megan Schaltegger is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist.