Travel agents oppose effort to erase taxes and fees from airfare ads

A bill that would allow airlines to advertise fares without including taxes and fees would "deceive" travelers about the true cost of flying, according to a trade group for the nation's travel agents.

The proposed federal legislation, which is supported by the nation's airline, allows carriers to advertise base fares with extra fees and taxes shown separately.

The bill would negate a U.S. Department of Transportation rule that took effect in 2012 and requires that all advertised fares show the full cost of a flight, including taxes and fees.

Airlines oppose the rule, saying they want travelers to see how much of the total cost of flying comes from fees and taxes imposed by government.

Some passenger fees are imposed by the airlines themselves, such as fuel surcharges.

“We cannot stand by while anti-consumer legislation is allowed to sail through Congress and unravel protections put in place by the DOT with no input from the traveling public,” said Zane Kerby, president and chief executive of the American Society of Travel Agents.

The bill, HR 4156, is dubbed the Transparent Airfares Act and is sponsored by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.). It passed out of an aviation committee on April 9 and is on track to go before the House over the next few weeks.

It has the support of seven of the nation's biggest airlines and several airline employee unions.


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