WASHINGTON, DC – FlyersRights.org, the largest airline passenger advocacy organization, is calling on the House Members to debate H.R. 4156, the deceptively titled “Transparent Airfares Act of 2014”.
The bill is supported by the airline industry, that wants to put the asterisk back in airfares.
It would undo the Full Fare Advertising Rule ordered in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). That rule requires airlines to advertise the full cost of a ticket, including taxes and fees levied by airport authorities and federal, state and local governments.
As it’s written, airlines would be allowed to report a base fare, then separately disclose the full cost of the ticket. For example, “Airfares From Only $1*.”
The president of the American Society of Travel Agents, Zane Kerby, said the bill “would allow airlines to deceive travelers about the actual cost of a flight.”
“The airlines challenged the rule in court and lost, then tried the United States Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case. Congress should stay its hand here,” Kerby said. “There is no evidence of consumer harm under the DOT rule, only benefits for the traveling public.”
The bill was passed out of Committee in April without any hearings, debate or opportunity for consumer or travel industry stakeholders to inform Congress of their views and the flaws in this bill. This contentious legislation would harm consumers by reversing a DOT rule implemented in 2012 to stop misleading airline advertising.
House Members should reject this Suspension Calendar scheme and insist on proper deliberation of this highly controversial legislation.
Most of the bill’s cosponsors are members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and many also are among the top recipients of campaign contributions from the airline industry, according to opensecrets.org.
Bill Shuster (R-PA) has received $125,600 from the air transport industry (the most of any member of Congress); ranking Democrat Nick Rahall of West Virginia has received $34,500; and Rodney Davis, (R-Ill) has reported $31,781 in airline industry contributions during this election cycle.