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Biden seeks more fee transparency for airline tickets

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Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, shown here in May, said Monday a new proposed rule would require airlines to be transparent with customers about the fees they charge. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/269c7eadc522560dbfbef2f9e563614e/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, shown here in May, said Monday a new proposed rule would require airlines to be transparent with customers about the fees they charge. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 26 (UPI) -- U.S. airline passengers could see a big change in the way fees are disclosed for their flights under a new White House proposal, the U.S. transportation secretary said Monday.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said President Joe Biden plans to unveil new measures aimed at strengthening consumer protection by way of full disclosure of fee information -- information that would be available before customers buy their tickets.

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"This new proposed rule would require airlines to be transparent with customers about the fees they charge, which will help travelers make informed decisions and save money," Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement.

Under the new proposal, U.S. and foreign air carriers, ticket agents and third-party sellers would have to provide in clear terms how fees related to baggage, cancellation, changes in plans and other matters would be applied to the regular price of a flight.

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The department has introduced a new platform that allows consumers to see what they're owed in the event of flight cancellation or delays. Prior to that, none of the 10 largest airlines in the United States guaranteed a meal or a hotel in the event that it was responsible for a delay or cancellation. Only one of those offered free rebooking.

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Buttigieg had addressed some of those concerns in August.

Passengers had also complained that carriers have not been properly compensating them for those inconveniences.

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Trade groups representing the U.S. air travel industry had no comment on Monday's proposals, but they did address some of the lingering bottlenecks that caused widespread travel delays by launching a hiring campaign earlier this year.

Air travel has increased steadily during the post-vaccine stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Transportation Security Administration showed about 2.4 million passed through U.S. airport checkpoints on Sunday, compared to just 873,038 during the worst of the pandemic on the same date in 2020.

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