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.
“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.
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