The Department of Transportation (DOT) has put an end to two
proposed consumer-protection measures for air travelers that were placed under
consideration by the Obama administration.
The move comes after the Dec. 1 end of a public process in
which the DOT solicited comments from the public on regulations that they would
like repealed or reviewed.
In a notice dated Dec. 5, DOT secretary Elaine Chao stated
that the department has withdrawn an Obama administration proposal to require
airlines and ticket agents (including travel agents) to disclose fees for carry-on
and checked bags from the beginning of a fare inquiry. The proposal was the
final airline-related rulemaking process put forward by the DOT of Chao's
predecessor, Anthony Foxx.
If enacted, the rule would have meant that carriers couldn't
display a ticket price, then only later in the sales process
show fees for baggage.
Public comment on the proposal had originally been scheduled
to end on March 20 of last year, but early that month the Trump administration
indefinitely suspended the rulemaking process to "allow the president's
appointees to review and consider this action."
In the most recent comment period for regulatory review,
American was among the carriers that urged the DOT to kill the proposal for
"Airlines are in the business of selling air
transportation as well as optional services, and they have every incentive to
make information on these optional services available to consumers," the
Chao said that ending the rulemaking process is consistent
with a Trump executive order from last January calling for a rollback of
regulations and regulatory costs.
ASTA, however, said that the proposal had been a step in the
"ASTA believes strongly that withholding important
airline information from consumers who engage the services of a professional
travel advisor harms the traveling public, and that those who purchase their
travel through agents should be as informed and empowered as those who buy
directly from airlines," ASTA executive vice president of advocacy Eben
Peck said in prepared remarks.
In a separate notice dated Dec. 5, Chao put an end to a
rulemaking process that had lingered on since 2011. The proposal would have required
airlines to submit detailed data on ancillary fee revenue to the DOT four times
per year. Consumer advocates and Southwest supported the proposal, saying it
would increase transparency. But other airlines said it was unnecessary and
would have been a cost burden.
In explaining its rejection of the proposal, Chao said the
department took the carriers' concerns about the burden such a rule would pose