Major U.S. Airlines including American, United, Delta, and JetBlue File Suit Over New Fee Disclosure Regulations

By Kurt Stolz on 14 May 2024
  • Share

“Checking bags? Now let’s see, checking a yellow bag costs $31 but a small red bag will run $48. Oh, and have a pleasant flight!”

Major airlines in the United States are suing the Department of Transportation over a new rule that requires the upfront disclosure of ancillary fees.

The new rules requiring disclosure are the latest in a series of clashes between the industry and the Biden administration.

Airlines for America, an industry trade group representing major U.S. carriers, along with American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, and Alaska Airlines filed suit against the agency late Friday, according to a copy of the lawsuit viewed by Frequent Business Traveler and The Travelist.

In April, the DOT issued final rules that require air carriers and ticket agents to disclose a variety of service fees when presenting the airfare. The agency said that this additional information would help travelers avoid unneeded or unexpected fees.

The rule is part o the Biden administration’s move to eliminate hidden so-called “junk” fees that can  nonetheless have a significant impact on the final cost of travel and other purchases including hotel stays.  The DOT said that the new rule will result in many air travelers having to pay less for travel.

Airlines for America said in a statement that the rule would confuse travelers and that its “attempt to regulate private business operations in a thriving marketplace is beyond its authority.”

The airlines’ previously unreported lawsuit calls the rule “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and otherwise contrary to law.”

Meanwhile, the agency said on Monday that it “will vigorously defend our rule protecting people from hidden junk fees and ensuring travelers can see the full price of a flight before they purchase a ticket.”

Southwest Airliens, which has expressed support for the new regulations, did not join in the suit.

The new regulations, the DOT said, will end “bait-and-switch tactics some airlines use to disguise the true cost of discounted flights.” The rules prohibits airlines from advertising promotional discounts based on a “low base fare that does not include all mandatory carrier-imposed fees.”

The regulations specifically mandate that all fees for baggage or flight changes “must be individually disclosed the first time that fare and schedule information is provided on the airline’s online platform, and cannot be displayed through a hyperlink.”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News