Will new bill let airlines hide ticket prices?

Dabari/Shutterstock
Dabari/Shutterstock
At best, the proposed Transparent Airfares Act of 2014, a bipartisan bill introduced this month in Congress, would open a window into the many taxes and mandatory fees attached to your airline ticket — charges that the airline industry believes you should know about.

At worst, the proposed law would give airlines a license to quote an artificially low ticket price, undoing years of regulatory efforts to require the display of a full fare. And if the bill passes, critics fear that an airline could quote you an initial base ticket price, minus any taxes and government fees, leaving you with the mistaken impression that your total airfare is far cheaper than it is.
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For you, a special price: more!

Ariwasabi/Shutterstock
Ariwasabi/Shutterstock

Mark Hegeberg thought National would reward him with a lower price in exchange for his loyalty to the car rental company. So when he was looking for a car in Mexico, he clicked on the company’s website and volunteered his Emerald Club number.

“I checked reservations using my Emerald Club number and thought the charges were high,” remembers Hegeberg, who works for a packaged goods company in Mill Creek, Wash. A one-week, full-size rental in Los Cabos during August came to $246 with his membership, he says.

“Then I checked rentals without using my Emerald number and found them to be significantly less,” he says. The site returned a rate of $126 for the week — almost half the amount.

“Quite a difference,” says Hegeberg.

What’s going on?
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