Don’t let airlines lie about fares – sign the petition

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I need your help.

Please take a moment and consider signing this petition now.

The airline industry is pushing Congress to pass a deceptively-named Transparent Airfares Act of 2014. It’s the most consumer-hostile piece of legislation I’ve seen in years, and it must be stopped.

And it can be stopped — if enough passengers speak up.

Here’s what The New York Times had to say about “transparent” airfares:

The cynically named Transparent Airfares Act of 2014 can only hurt consumers.

The law would undo regulations the Department of Transportation implemented in 2012 that require airlines to disclose in their advertising the total price of tickets, including federal taxes and fees that help pay for air traffic control, airport security and other parts of the national air travel system.

Don’t take their word for it. Here’s my column in the Washington Post, in which I describe life under “transparent” airfares:

As soon as the bill is passed, airlines will be able to advertise an initial price that’s between 15 and 20 percent lower than the price you’ll pay. Only at the end of the booking process, when you get ready to pay, would the full price, including taxes, be revealed.

Privately, airlines have been pitching this to Congress as an economic stimulus, arguing that passengers are likelier to book fares they believe to be cheaper, say critics.

I believe you should know the full price of any item up front — not at the end of a tedious booking process, as a “gotcha.”

If you agree with me, please sign the petition now. The Senate is considering a companion bill, which would virtually ensure that “transparent” fares become a reality. Every second counts.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • Bill___A

    I suppose a disgusting picture is an attention – getter.

    These elected politicians should know to do the right thing without a petition.

  • Doug_r

    Why pick on airlines, this is an issue with every consumer product in the US. What are we ever quoted with tax? The rest of the world has this right, we gave it wrong. But given that’s a national tradition, why lobby to make the airlines the exception? A real consumer advocate would say that all advertising should include all taxes.

  • Christopher Elliott

    Read the story in the Post. That’s exactly what I say.

  • Doug_r

    Yes, you did say that, but then you picked in airlines (and hotels) for simply seeking parity. The problem isn’t the airlines, it’s the rest of the system.

  • gph

    It’s a funny thing when one looks at “taxes&fees” and “total price” versus the inclusion/exclusion of said fees in said total price: Products and services sold “all inclusive” have “taxes&fees” of 20-25% (or more) — airfare, cigarettes, and gasoline, e.g.. Products base-priced exclusive of taxes & fees end up having taxes & fees of only 10% or less added on. Consumers would revolt if everything were surcharged at the level of cigarettes, gasoline, and airfare… and their angst would be directed at the tax/fee/surcharge and taxing authority, as it should be. Conceal those surcharges and the ignorant masses quietly comply and take no notice when those surcharges increase (other than perhaps misplacing blame on the commercial vendor).

    Airlines do plenty of things underhandedly. Itemizing the consumer’s airfare is not one of them. “Whitewashing” taxes and fees into all inclusive prices is underhanded on the part of the taxing authority.

  • LZ126

    Does this mean I won’t be able to board a Frontier Airlines plane at IAD with only $15 in my pocket?!?