May 21 U.S. airlines should disclose fees for checked baggage and other basic services to make it easier for travelers to discern the true cost of a ticket, the U.S. Transportation Department said on Wednesday.
The agency proposed rules requiring U.S. carriers to specify the costs for those extra charges at all points of sale, including online purchases. The regulations would also stipulate that online sites allowing flight searches, such as Google and Kayak, must also provide more information on ticket costs.
The new rules would build on regulations issued in 2009 and 2011 seeking greater disclosure of airline taxes and fees.
In a statement, the department said charges for additional air-travel services were difficult for buyers to determine up front.
The proposed rules would also require airlines and agents to disclose on initial website itinerary displays whether flights sold are operated in partnership with other carriers. Big travel agents would have to respond quickly to consumer complaints and offer the option of holding reservations at quoted fares without payment for 24 hours if made a week or more before departure. (Reporting by Karen Jacobs in Atlanta; Editing by Paul Simao)