Obama's last airline regulation proposal: Disclose bag fees at all points of sale

The Department of Transportation under the Obama administration adopted an unprecedented number of airline passenger protections, including a rule that fines carriers for leaving fliers stranded on an airport tarmac for more than three hours.

In the final week of the Obama administration, the federal agency proposed one final regulation: a requirement that airlines and travel agents disclose bag fee information at all points of sale.

The rule expands a previous regulation mandating airlines to include easy-to-find fee information on their websites. Some airlines responded to this rule by burying the information deep within their sites.

The new proposal goes a step further by requiring that the bag fee information appear alongside the fare price when fliers search air fares on airline websites as well as on Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity and other travel sites.

Airlines report record low rates of lost luggage and canceled flights in November »

“The department’s goal is to protect consumers from hidden and deceptive fees and enable them to determine the true cost of travel in an effective manager when they price shop for air transportation,” the agency said in its rule proposal.

The public has until March 20 to comment on the proposal before the agency decides whether to adopt the change.

Airline industry representatives say U.S. carriers have been transparent enough without the new regulation.

“The fact that a record number of people are flying underscores that customers are benefiting every day from affordable fares and the ability to choose among carriers, amenities and service options that best meet their needs,” said Vaughn Jennings, a spokesman for Airlines for America, the trade group for the nation’s airlines.

Jennings said he couldn’t speculate whether the regulation would get the support of the incoming transportation secretary under the new Trump administration.

hugo.martin@latimes.com

To read more about the travel and tourism industries, follow @hugomartin on Twitter.

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