A two year old government regulation, overturning a 25 year old practice, now enables the federal government to hide the outsized, ever-increasing tax amount that airline customers pay to the federal government. This is not pro consumer. This is pro government.
This makes no sense. When we see an advertised airline fare, the taxes and fees are lumped in there -- hidden, if you will. Most people don't realize -- but it's an astounding fact -- that the federal government won't allow clear delineation of the base airfare and the amount of mandatory taxes and fees. The government requires that the increased costs that it imposes be included with the base fare in advertised ticket prices.
Doesn't sound very fair, does it? It’s stunning that the federal government now mandates that the taxes on an airfare – $62 of a typical $300 roundtrip domestic ticket or nearly a quarter of the price – be advertised as part of the base price of the ticket. That amount will actually increase to $63 in July when the TSA passenger security tax jumps to $5.60 on a one-way trip. But because government taxes are buried in the cost of the ticket, you’d barely notice. In fact, you might even – wrongly – blame the airlines. Airlines fought against that tax increase. Airlines have increased ticket transparency to unprecedented levels by breaking out the costs of services customers want so they can customize their journeys. Meanwhile, the government has decided to increase its portion and not let consumers know.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers is fighting to change that with the Transparent Airfares Act. It would ensure that federal taxes be broken out of the cost of a ticket when advertised. This is common sense. Those taxes are not being imposed by the airlines. The proposed law would also bring air travel back in line with virtually every other product sold in the free market. If you believe the current system is wrong, you can weigh in by supporting the Transparent Airfares Act by clicking here and writing your legislators with an expression of support.
Today’s travelers want to know what they are paying for. The government should follow the lead of the airlines and give consumers the information they need and the transparency they deserve.