DOT Investigates Airlines For Not Disclosing Fees On Their Websites

Starting August 23rd, airlines were supposed to start being more upfront on their websites about the fees they charge you. Guess what? They didn’t.

The new rule requires that there be a very visible link on the airline’s web page which tells you all the fees for optional services. The Huffington Post reviewed the sites of seven different airlines. Only two of them, American Airlines and Virgin America, had a link. AA’s was at the bottom of the page and called “optional charges.” Virgin’s was on their front page and was listed as “Fees.”

Now the Department of Transportation is investigating, reports the Huffington Post. They didn’t release the names of the specific airlines under review. They won’t do so until a civil complaint is filed.

Exclusive: Government Investigating Airlines for Not Disclosing Fees [Huffington Post]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Exceptional Vampire Does Not Sparkle says:

    In other news, Nothing changed.

  2. Tunnen says:

    I’m sorry, but you (read “the government”) didn’t pay the fee disclosure fee. =P

  3. smo0 says:

    They are going to slack about it.
    Branson covers his ass with the use of the word, “FEES!”

    Just arming people with the knowledge, “southwest doesn’t have fees – but everyone else does,” should be enough at this point.

  4. crazydavythe1st says:

    huh? the article you linked to says that all seven of those airlines had a link, some were just not prominent.

    Honestly, I like this billing model as it saves money for those not utilizing baggage service. It’s funny that so many people on here complain about fees being hidden into the cost of a product or service (think debit card interchange fees) and yet the same people complain when they are disclosed and ultimately avoidable.

    • brandonsavage says:

      I don’t ever check bags but baggage fees annoy me. Why? Because I travel fairly often, and as a result I’ve learned how to carry on to speed up my trip. But baggage fees discourage checked baggage, which encourages carry-on baggage. Every flight I take – every single one – an announcement is made that they’ll have to gate-check bags. Unless I want to pay for early boarding, I am playing Russian roulette as to whether or not my trip is going to be tremendously inconvenienced by having my bag grabbed from me.

      Of course, a decade ago I’d be a frequent traveler and receive perks and benefits that would avoid this, right? But these days, I’m just another customer since the airlines all changed their status programs to only reward people who spend 80% of their lives in airplanes.

      Is it any wonder I took up general aviation?

      • fs2k2isfun says:

        25,000 miles or 30 segments really isn’t that hard to get if you fly as often as you claim.

        But I don’t blame you for flying GA as much as possible.

    • regis-s says:

      Surely to God there’s a happy medium between one all inclusive price forcing everyone to pay for services few really want and a stripped down model where basically everything but the absolute bare minimum is considered an optional extra.

    • Leksi Wit says:

      Not including certain services such as meals means people bring stinky food on the plane. Sometimes it’s so bad I want to vomit. I have come close. I can’t imagine what it must be like for a vegan sitting next to someone eating a big mac – yuck!

      It’s been brought up already, but people cramp all the overhead with oversized carryons due to insufficient staff catching it early and ignorance of passengers. So, flights are constantly delayed with gate bag checks. Ugh.

      I’d rather pay $30 more of whatever it is so that everyone can check 2 bags for free and get a meal. >.

    • DFManno says:

      Right. Taken to the logical extreme, an airline can advertise a fare of 0*

      * Does not include seat fee, fuel charge, takeoff fee, landing fee, oxygen mask charge (optional), seat belt fee, air lane toll, etc.

  5. evilpete says:

    let me guess, the fine will be $1000 or something equally ridiculous

  6. silyolpooh says:

    Wait… the article says Southwest and Virgin were visible. Which is no surprise, since they’ve always been the most up-front to (and right by) customers.

  7. OldSchool says:

    The answer to this sort of malicious non-compliance is simple. Force them to refund any fees that are not properly disclosed. I am beyond certain that these issues would get corrected with amazing rapidity.

  8. theblackdog says:

    Speaking of fees, I just got my credit card statement and my charges to be able to fly my bags on US Airways were classified by them as “Excess Baggage.”

    Excuse me motherfuckers, but it’s usually standard to fly with one checked bag, especially when you’re gone for two weeks. I don’t think it’s really “excess,” especially when you figured out that you can continue to make profits by making us pay fees.

  9. kierzandax says:

    Cool. Just filed a complaint against US Air. Just purchased tickets and there was nothing about fees until final checkout. Even then, it was just “Fees” with no breakout. And not a word about needing to pay for baggage.

  10. kierzandax says:

    Cool. Just filed a complaint against US Air. Just purchased tickets and there was nothing about fees until final checkout. Even then, it was just “Fees” with no breakout. And not a word about needing to pay for baggage.