Judge to Airlines: Keep It Accurate

The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled against an airline suit challenging recent Department of Transportation (DOT) rules requiring all-up airfare displays that include both fees and taxes.


Southwest and Spirit specifically challenged the part of the rule that requires airlines to include taxes in the featured fares, but the court ruled against them. The other main points of the rule: When you buy a ticket more than a week before departure, you can cancel it within 24 hours without penalty, and once you've bought a ticket, an airline can't increase either the fare or any applicable baggage fees you've paid. Those also remain in effect. Unless the airlines decide to press further appeals, this is now the law—and one that helps protect you against deception and abuses.

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In the airlines' opposition, arguments skirt the truth regarding inclusion of taxes. Although they claim that separate listing of taxes is the "general norm" in the U.S. economy, that claim is true only for state and local sales taxes. Other taxes, such as those on gasoline, alcohol, and tobacco are routinely bundled into the posted prices.

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