Lengthy review of airline ancillary rule irks advocacy groups

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Consumer advocacy groups and travel organizations are urging the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to complete and release a rule that may include a requirement for airlines to disclose ancillary fees.

The rule was proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on April 4, 2011.

The letter said that since airlines introduced baggage fees in 2008, they have added fees for services such as seat reservations and early boarding. The groups said that these fees and “a complex matrix of associated exemptions and exceptions under current rules make it virtually impossible for consumers to compare all-in prices across airlines.”

The letter said that consumer groups have worked in good faith through the rule-making system to address the price-comparison problem. It said that “delay after delay is demoralizing.”

“OMB should finish this final bureaucratic review immediately, so DOT can publish the proposed rule for comments," said Charles Leocha, director of one of the signatories of the letter, the Consumer Travel Alliance.

Other organizations signing the letter include the Consumer Federation of America, National Consumers League, Consumers Union, Business Travel Coalition, AirlinePassengers.org, Association for Airline Passenger Rights, FlyersRights.org and U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group.)

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