WASHINGTON — Airlines tried and failed to block a federal rule making them tell passengers up front the full cost of airfare, including government taxes and fees. So they’re trying another route, asking Congress to roll back the law.
A bill in Congress would allow airlines to return to their old way of doing things, which was to emphasize in ads the base airfare — the amount airlines charge passengers to fly — but reveal the full price including taxes and fees separately. It’s backed by a bipartisan group of 33 lawmakers led by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa.
Before the Transportation Department put its regulation in place two years ago, airlines and ticketing services would typically display the lower base fare in large type and show taxes and fees in small print. Consumers shopping online often weren’t shown taxes and fees unless they scrolled to the bottom of the web page or clicked through several pages after selecting a flight.
The bill was introduced in March and approved by the transportation committee a month later without a hearing and by a voice vote, which means there is no record of who voted for or against it.
The bill is “a gift to the airlines,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., a transportation committee member who said he voted against it.