Airlines are trying to stop Biden from implementing the ‘junk fee’ rule

Several of the nation’s major airlines are challenging a new Biden administration rule that would force them to disclose certain fees as part of the upfront cost of airfare. The government describes these fees, which are added for luggage and changes to bookings, as “surprise junk fees”.

In a petition filed Friday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, trade groups American Airlines and six airlines asked to vacate the surcharge rule because it is “arbitrary, capricious” and outside the authority of the Department of Transportation.

The group of airlines in the petition includes American, Delta, United, JetBlue, Alaska and Hawaiian. In a statement Monday, Airlines for America said enforcing the rule would confuse customers and complicate shopping for flights.

“The DOT bylaw is a poor solution in search of a problem,” the report said.

The rule was finalized last month after an 18-month process and will come into effect on July 1. Department of Transport He says It can save consumers more than $500 million a year. Airlines collected nearly $5.5 billion, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Baggage fee Last year.

“We will vigorously defend our rule that protects people from hidden junk fares and ensure that passengers can see the full price of a flight before purchasing a ticket,” the Department of Transportation said in a statement responding to the lawsuit. “Many air travelers will be disappointed to learn that the airline lobby is suing to stop these common sense protections.”

Under the rule, airlines or travel booking sites must display the fee for checking the first or second bag, carrying the bag, changing the reservation or canceling the reservation when the fee is issued the first time. Many airlines have recently raised the price of checking a bag – and some fees vary by airline.

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Consumer advocate John Brayault, vice president of public policy National Consumers League, said he was disappointed but not surprised by the lawsuit. The benefit of the rule to travelers, he said, is that it makes it easier for travelers to make an “apples-to-apples comparison” of flight costs.

“Now they have to tell you the real price up front,” he said.

When it declared The rule, the Biden administration said, would end “discount bait and switch tactics” that trick consumers into believing they’re getting a better deal than the final price after fees. Airlines for America said airlines have already made significant investments in their websites and apps to make it easier for travelers to easily book tickets tailored to their specific needs — with fares published before purchase.

“Airlines are making more efforts to educate their customers about these charges,” its report said. “In addition to the disclosures required by existing DOT regulations, airlines engage in competitive advertising and emphasize ancillary fare discounts and benefits when promoting their loyalty programs.”

In opinions In a submission as part of the new rulemaking process, Airlines for America argued that carriers are motivated to provide good service by their own success, not government mandates. The rule, he said, “would mandate clutter and confusing search protocols that result in delayed and ambiguous search results, neither of which consumers want or need.”

The Biden administration’s campaign against “junk fees” extends beyond airlines to credit card late fees, resort fees, cable company fees and convenience fees for tickets to live events.

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