Proposed bill would allow airfare ads to exclude government taxes

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Key leaders of the House Transportation Committee introduced a bipartisan bill to rescind the Transportation Department’s requirement that airfares be displayed and advertised with all taxes included.

The bill, the Transparent Airfares Act of 2014 (H.R. 4156), responds to airline concerns that the DOT policy makes fares appear higher than they are, while “masking the excessive federal tax rate on the cost of air travel,” according to Airlines For America, the trade group representing U.S. airlines.

If enacted, the bill would establish that it is not unfair or deceptive for airlines or intermediaries to advertise or state a “base airfare” if government-imposed taxes and fees are “clearly” disclosed, along with the total cost.

The DOT rule, which became effective two years ago, requires that the advertised price include all mandatory fees imposed by the carrier or seller. The legislation does not address, and does not appear to change, that requirement.

The bill is sponsored by the committee’s chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and five other members, including senior member Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and the aviation subcommittee chairman, Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.).

Other co-sponsors are Reps. Tom Graves (R-Ga.), Nick Rahall (D-W. Va.) and Rick Larsen (D-Wash).
 

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