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An end to truth in advertising airfare prices?

It's hard enough these days to know what a flight is going to cost before you make it all the way through the booking process. An advertised fare of $198 round-trip to London might actually set you back $500 when you factor in various taxes, fees, fuel surcharges, and other often hidden costs. And now, reports travel writer/consumer advocate Christopher Elliott, things may get a lot worse.

"The government could now either end its rule compelling airlines to include government-imposed charges in its fares, or revise its rule to eliminate most or all requirements for airfare advertisements, or eliminate the full-fare advertising regulation in its entirety," writes Elliott. "If any of those scenarios unfold... it could make shopping for an airfare much more complicated."

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If adopted, the Department of Transportation's (DOT) proposed changes would render consumers helpless in a jungle of different advertising schemes. The airlines, of course, love this idea because it means they can advertise rock-bottom "base" prices that don't really exist.

I'd say that's criminal, but—if the proposed rule changes go through—it would be perfectly legal.

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