DOT cracks down on "deceptive" plane ticket practices - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

DOT cracks down on "deceptive" plane ticket practices

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - It's time to wave goodbye to those seemingly low air-fares because of a new federal mandate that starts Thursday.

From now on, airlines can no longer exclude taxes and fees from their advertisement listings. If they do, they'll face fines from the federal government.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood calls the effort "A continuation of our effort to help air travelers receive the respect they deserve."

Read LaHood's statement on new airline rules

"Absolutely, full disclosure on price is important," traveler Stephen Horne said, "Too many times do you get online, find a low fare, and by the time you check out, you look and its $100 more so I think allowing people to see the full price up front goes a long way."

"It means a lot because that way you know what to expect, no surprises when you get there," another passenger said.

According to travel website Travelzoo.com, a $39 special would now be listed as $99 round trip.
That includes the price for each leg of the trip and the $21 in taxes, which the website estimates you pay on average for a non-stop domestic roundtrip flight.

Airfare is not the only change. Airlines also have to disclose baggage fees to consumers when they book a flight online. The companies are already obligated to refund any baggage fee if they lose your luggage, according to the federal agency.

Related article: DOT fines airline for violating international baggage rule

Some feel any charge for bags is already outrageous.

"Charging for bags is a bad idea, I think it takes longer to get on the plane and everyone is fighting for overhead space," Michael Goldberg said.

With the new rules, come even bigger expectations.

"Increase the service levels," stresses Ryan Herbert, "through respect from the employees, whether it's the ticket counter or even the baggage handlers, if you're going to charge a certain price, have some service come along with it."

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