Ever since the Transportation Department told U.S. airlines they’d have to advertise the total cost of a ticket when touting their fares, the industry has been fighting back. Back in July a U.S. Appeals Court sided with consumers and ruled that airlines must stick to the new rules, and now the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected the industry’s challenge once again, in refusing to hear the case.
The industry was trying yet again to overturn the federal requirement that airlines must clear up consumer confusion by simply stating what a ticket will cost after all fees and taxes are applied in any advertisements. Airlines don’t like this because then it makes it seem like fares are more expensive. Really, it’s just about telling the truth.
Bloomberg News reports that the rules will be left intact, after the airlines said the rules violated speech rights. Spirit Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Allegiant Air LLC argued in court papers that the DOT was trying to block them “from drawing clear and conspicuous attention to truthful information about the significant tax burden on airline tickets, at a time when the administration is pushing to raise those taxes even higher.”
So basically, they’re blaming the government for high taxes, instead of themselves for raising airfares every chance they get.
The Supreme Court also kept a requirement in place that says airlines either have to let customer cancel reservations without penalty within a 24-hour window or at least let them hold seats for that time without paying.
“The airline advertising rule is a quintessential consumer-protection regulation,” U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli argued in court papers. “The government’s substantial interest in ensuring that consumers receive accurate information about air fares is clearly and directly advanced by a regulation requiring that the total, final price be the most prominent.”