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."
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.