Tues., April 15, 2014
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The airlines are at it yet again.

Those deceptive and infuriating ads that were banned years ago are sneaking back.

No, you cannot really fly on Spirit Airlines for $9. >
Making its way thorough the U.S. House, without public submissions or any debate, is a bill called H.R. 4156, deceptively named the “Transparent Airfares Act of 2014”. Translation: the “Keep Air Travelers in the Dark Act”.

Written by airline lobbyists, this bill is completely anti-consumer while at the same time denigrating customers and constituents alike. It is all about making airfares less transparent. The name of the bill is just the start of the false advertising.

It is a thoroughly corrupt racket being perpetrated against the very taxpayers that have repeatedly bailed out the airlines time after time.  

How would a proposed ‘Transparent’ Law mislead consumers? It seeks to overturn and reverse our hard-fought 2012 Department of Transportation ruling that requires the airlines to prominently feature the full total price of their airfares.

$2 roundtrip? Seems to good to be true, because it is.
The proposed law would give airlines free rein to quote artificially low ticket prices, minus taxes and government fees, leaving you with the mistaken belief that your total airfare is far cheaper than it is.
The supporters of this bill want airlines to be able to advertise a flight without the fees and taxes added on. For example, a $300 flight would be advertised for $239 – omitting the fees and taxes.
The DOT’s advertising rules were meant to eliminate shocking surprise fees and add transparency to the airfare booking process. 
So the first question is, who in our Congress is responsible for attempting to perpetrate this deception?
They are Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Peter DeFazio (D-OR), the sponsors of the bill, who also happen to be members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Click here for the list of co-sponsors.
Second question, how much did the airlines give to the re-election campaigns of the sponsors of this bill?
The airlines dupe Congress again and again, blogs the Travel Insider. There is no justification for this legislation, which is why there was no debate allowed prior to approving the bill and passing it out of its markup stage and sending it on to the full House.
Transparency or confusion?
According to Reps Shuster and DeFazio, the American public “wants” and is “calling for” this law.
The problem with that assertion is that it is untrue. There are NO consumer groups actively supporting this bill.  In fact, FlyersRights and virtually all other aviation consumer groups are strongly OPPOSED to it.
Another argument for this legislation is that it exposes the level of taxes and fees the government imposes on air travel.
But why would any congressman wish to expose their greedy grab of such a large slice of our air travel expenditures, the Travel Insider asks.
Spirit Airlines cursing our full-fare disclosure laws in 2012
All airlines are already free to make as prominent a statement as they choose about how much of the ticket price you pay goes to the government and what it is for.


Another of the bill’s justifications is that it places the same disclosure rules on airfares as on anything else you’d buy.
Yes it’s true prices are usually quoted without sales tax, yet that is necessary because sales tax rates vary not only from state to state and from county to county, but even from city to city.  Air taxes and fees are a constant for any given airline, route and fare, no matter where the ticket is purchased.
Ready for “zero fares” madness like this?
Gas prices are a lot like airfare pricing – the price per gallon of gas includes all federal, state and local taxes and fees.
Imagine if gas stations were to start advertising just the base cost of the gas on their signs, and only after you’d filled your tank you discovered the total cost!
What this legislation would most risk is a return to the most egregious examples of ‘bait and switching’ where you’d see a low advertised airfare, but only after getting all excited, and working through 95% towards paying it, do you then discover a morass of fees and surcharges – carrier imposed as well as government imposed – that total more than double the price you thought you were going to pay.
The airline industry, along with banking, cable and telecommunications, oil, healthcare, and numerous others, want less regulation, but they have demonstrated, time and time again that they are incapable of regulating themselves.  
The consumer deserves to have the final price of an airline ticket prominently displayed BEFORE taking out a credit card to pay for it.  As it is today, the consumer CAN see the whole price before booking, no last-page suprises–and that should never be changed.
Please contact your congressional representatives and ask them to vote against HR 4156, the Transparent Airfares Act, because it does not promote transparent airfares, but rather does quite the opposite.
Now if we could only force every other kind of business to disclose the full price of their products in advertising.

Gotcha, Sucker. It’s easy to get tricked by flight comparison websites that omit taxes.

Related stories: 

Transparent Airfares Act of 2014: A proposal based on lies  

Proper airfare advertising comes to U.S.


As expected, AA announced downgrades to its frequent flyer program last week on the heels of recent frequent flyer program changes at other airlines. Due to record load factors, airlines are favoring selling seats instead of giving them away.

Below are some of the highlights, or lowlights:

– For U.S. travel on or after June 1, American members can redeem miles for an unrestricted “AAnytime” award at 20,000 miles, 30,000 miles or 50,000 each way instead of the current 25,000-mile flat rate. The less-flexible “MileSAAver”awards will continue to start at 12,500 miles.- Mile requirements will change on many international trips.- There will be no more free checked bags for American Airlines passengers traveling on miles they earned or who paid full price for an economy seat.

– Some elite-level frequent fliers on both airlines will get to check one less free bag than before.

– No more blackout days for redeeming miles on US Airways, matching the policy at American.

– The charge for a second checked bag on trips to South America is being dropped.

Additional information available at: The Washington Post

Agents refused to let disabled woman fly because she couldn’t say her own name

What kind of a security threat is a wheelchair bound stroke victim who is unable to talk or write? Apparently a big one, if TSA screeners at Los Angeles International Airport are to be believed.

Sherry Wright was attempting to fly with her sister to Phoenix recently, but was barred from doing so by TSA agents who set about forcing her mute sister to try to talk in order to clear security lines.

Heidi Wright, who suffered a stroke ten years ago and has been left disabled, is unable to talk to her family. This did not stop TSA screeners from demanding that she say her own name in order to board a flight. Screeners insisted on the proviso after stopping the sisters because of an expired driver’s license, ABC reports.

Because she was denied from flying to Phoenix, Heidi had to take an eight-hour bus ride to the southwestern city. Sherry said she filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security.

Read More:


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Kate Hanni, founder emeritus of FlyersRights with Paul Hudson, president
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