Lawmaker Takes Page from Spirit's Playbook, Calls for End to New Airfare Rules

Georgia Congressman Tom Graves has announced he’ll introduce legislation to overturn the Department of Transportation’s new regulations regarding published or advertised airfares – because he believes it “limit[s] consumers’ ability to see how much they’re getting taxed.”

What the New Airfare Rules Mean for You

The rules, which went into effect last week, require airlines to include all mandatory taxes and fees in their published prices.

New Airfare Rules: Transparent or Not?

The reason for the change, according to the DOT, is that it wasn’t always “obvious” to airfare shoppers what low advertised prices would eventually cost them and many have called the regulations “more transparent.” However, it does play havoc with some airline marketing campaigns.

Spirit Wages War on New DOT Rules

New Airfare Rules vs. Cheap Advertised Fares

Case in point: Spirit Airline’s famous $9 airfare deals, which ultimately cost flyers considerably more in mandatory taxes and fees (as well as in dues for the carrier’s $9 Fare Club and Spirit’s charges for checked and carryon baggage).

See the Bag Specifically Designed to Avoid Spirit Carryon Fees

Congressman’s Words Mirror Spirit’s Website

In a press release from his office, the Georgia Republican provided more reasons for doing away with the new airfare regulations and it is interesting to note how closely his language resembles words used by Spirit in its website war against the DOT. One example:

  • Graves: “Why is the department mandating that airlines hide the taxes, surcharges, and government fees in the fine print?”
  • Spirit: “New government regulations require us to hide your airfares.”

Here’s another:

  • Graves: “If the American people can’t see these costs clearly, I fear it will be easier [for] these fees and taxes to be raised without their knowledge.”
  • Spirit: “They [the government] can carry out their hidden agenda and quietly increase their taxes. (Yes, such talks are already underway.)”


Published: January 31, 2012