Unless you’ve spent a lot of time following congressional legislation, the buzz around a bill the House of Representatives passed last month might have escaped your attention. It’s not law yet because the Senate hasn’t voted, but you might not like it.
It’s titled the “Transparent Airfares Act,” and airlines want it badly because they want to post only the actual airfare part of a ticket’s price when advertising fares. Given that taxes and fees add an appreciable amount of money to a ticket, consumer groups are complaining loudly that not including those costs—as they are now when you comparison shop fares—constitutes tricky advertising.
I talked with the CEO of Spirit Airlines recently about this, and he says he supports this legislation even as its opponents complain this move is just the opposite of “transparent.” Ben Baldanza of Spirit says you don’t see the cost of something you buy at a store or a meal at a restaurant with the tax included until you end the transaction.
I said, yeah, but we’re not always doing side-by-side comparisons on the price of a sport coat or a hamburger. Plus, taxes on those items vary city to city and state to state. Not so with airline tickets.
I hope the Senate kills this bill.
Here’s a petition you can sign if you agree with me.