(I’m a man of very strong political opinions, probably many of them will run contrary to yours. All of that is ok, my views should have very little impact on you and vice versa. I’ll try to be as apolitical as possible in the following post, but might fail in that effort. If you don’t want to read about political stuff on a travel blog, I understand.)
Yesterday, the US House of Representatives passed the hilariously-named Transparent Airfare Act of 2014. This legislation reverses an FAA ruling in 2012 that forced airlines to advertise the full cost of a ticket instead of just their base fares. This makes it possible again for airlines to advertise an airfare of $79 only to show you a price of $140+ once you’ve gone through, entered all of your information, picked your seats, etc.
Sure seems transparent to me…
The resolution passed on voice vote. A voice vote in the House means that no representatives really had any issues with the bill on either side of the aisle, so it moves over to the Senate with unanimous “consent” from the House (consent isn’t the right word, it really just means that no one objected to it).
What follows are a list of facts about this bill (trying to keep my views out of it as much as possible):
- HR 4156 was sponsored by Bill Shuster (R-PA), who chairs the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
- The bill had 50 cosponsors, on both sides of the aisle
- There is no regulation that prevents airlines from clearly advertising how much of the total cost consisted of government taxes and fees
- Airlines went to court in 2013 to try and get the FAA ruling overturned
- Prevailing logic around the bill was “if consumers are forced to see how much they’re paying in taxes, they’ll yell and holler until taxes are reduced”
- Bearing in mind the above point, a bipartisan budget deal was passed by this Congress to increase taxes on flights
- Bill Shuster is the single largest recipient of political donations by nearly every major airline and airline industry lobby
Here’s the good news though: it’s not too late. I’m against this bill on account that it does nothing to make airfares more transparent. If you’re against this bill, contact your Senator (if you’re for this bill, then I most likely understand your logic behind it, but we’ll have to respectfully disagree but I appreciate that you have an opinion on it).
Far be it from me to champion Spirit Airlines, but even they’re doing it right.
There is nothing keeping other US airlines from following Spirit’s lead.
Ok, rant over.