New Jersey Senator, Robert Menendez (D) stood in Terminal B at Newark Liberty International Airport yesterday to announce that he would be re-introducing legislation that would ensure travelers get a clear breakdown of holiday surcharges and all add-on fees, including baggage, meals and pets.

The legislation, which Menendez termed “The Clear Airfares Act”, calls for fees, charges or surcharges to be disclosed in a straightforward transaction before customers have to input their name and credit card information.  Menendez said travelers have to click through peripheral web pages and wade through often confusing text to understand whether or not their airfare includes surcharges or added fees.Menendez

“Trying to navigate through the different components in your airfare is like an airline pilot trying to land a plane in a thunderstorm without electronic instruments or a map,” he said. “It’s technically possible, but it sure isn’t easy.”

Menendez’s bill — which he will introduce this week and hopes to pass next year — would require the transaction to be “straightforward, simple and transparent.”  Under Menendez’s bill, as each passenger selects from a list of options while booking online, a cost will appear for each item — the basic airfare, security tax, a holiday surcharge (if applicable), baggage, meals, pets and so on.

The principle is simple: Passengers should know what they’re paying for when they buy a ticket.  It’s basic consumer protection.  And, like many arriving flights at Newark Airport, it’s long overdue.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • Allegiant Air announced today it will move its low-cost service to Orlando International Airport beginning February 8, 2010.  Allegiant Air had provided service from GSP to Orlando via the Orlando-Sanford International Airport.  The low-fare carrier says it will offer the new service with introductory fares at $59.99 each way.
  • British Airways has agreed to pay cancellation penalties and other expenses for about 2,200 consumers who responded to an erroneous offer of $40 fares between the U.S. and India.  The fare, which didn’t include taxes and fees, was posted on British Airways’ Web site at about 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 2 and was removed within minutes.  However, the ad remained on other online travel sites for about two hours.
  • Planes belonging to Southwest Airlines and FedEx  suffered minor damage when they bumped wings while on the ground in Salt Lake City.  A Southwest spokesman said the airline’s jet was beginning to pull back from the gate when it was clipped by a FedEx cargo plane Sunday morning.  No passengers were hurt, and they were put on another plane for the trip to Albuquerque.  The plane was fixed and put back in duty.

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