American, Delta and other airlines sue U.S. to keep fees hidden


Last month, the Department of Transportation told U.S. airlines that they would need to start disclosing all of the fees customers need to pay to buy a plane ticket. Now, according a report from Reuters, the airlines are suing to block that rule.
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The complaint, which Reuters has seen but does not appear to show up in an online case database, alleges that the rule is “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and otherwise contrary to law.” The plaintiff is the trade group Airlines for America, and joining the suit are American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Alaska Airlines, and Hawaiian Airlines. The companies are some of America’s largest carriers.
“Airlines should compete with one another to secure passengers’ business — not to see who can charge the most in surprise fees,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement announcing the rule. “DOT’s new rule will save passengers over half a billion dollars a year in unnecessary or unexpected fees by holding airlines accountable for being transparent with their customers.”
The restriction is supposed to cover things like fees for checking one or two bags, bringing a carry-on bag onto the plane, and changing or cancelling a reservation.
At the time of the announcement, Airlines for America said its members “offer a range of options — including fully refundable fares — to increase accessibility to air travel and to help customers make ticket selections that best fit their needs. Consumers are given the choice of refundable ticket options with terms and conditions that best fit their needs at first search results.”
The rule is scheduled to go into effect on July 1.
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