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Tipsheet

Buttigieg 'Speechless' Over Airline Industry's Response to New Fee Rules

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said he was left “speechless” by a lawsuit from major airlines over a new rule requiring them to disclose added fees on purchases, a move conservatives argue will undermine consumer interests

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“We just issued a rule requiring airlines to inform you, before you buy a ticket, of fees they will charge you,” Buttigieg said Tuesday on X. “Now, the airline lobby is suing us, saying that if you have the right to that information it will ‘confuse’ you. For once, I am speechless.”

The lawsuit was filed in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals against the Department of Transportation, which finalized the fee disclosure rule last month in the Biden administration’s latest crackdown on so-called junk fees.

The department’s new rule requires airlines to disclose extra fees before customers make their final purchase. These extra fees can include fees for checked bags, carry-on bags, and changing or canceling reservations. (The Hill)

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The trade group Airlines for America said last week in a statement that the rule “will greatly confuse consumers who will be inundated with information that will only serve to complicate the buying process.”

“Airlines go to great lengths to make their customers knowledgeable about these fees,” the statement added. “In addition to the disclosures required by existing DOT (Department of Transportation) regulations, airlines engage in competitive advertising and emphasize ancillary fee discounts and benefits when they promote their loyalty programs.”

The Department of Transportation vowed to "vigorously defend" the rule in a statement to The Hill. 

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