Seventeen state attorneys general are asking the federal government to go ahead with a rule that could help consumers understand costs while booking air travel. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports.
Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood is joining 16 other state attorneys general asking the U.S. department of transportation to fully implement a proposed transparency rule for airlines. The Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees rule would require airlines and third party booking companies to disclose baggage fees and other charges up front. The U.S. Department of Transportation says it now plans to withdraw the proposed rule.
"Consumers have nowhere to go when it involves an airline. Can't call up the department of transportation and successfully make a complaint, so, many people complain to the attorneys general," said Hood.
Hood says states can't enforce their consumer protection laws because airlines are exempt from state-level interference.
"They will overbook flights. You're sitting there, you pay for a flight and you can't get on a flight. It's frustrating for attorney generals not to be able to enforce state consumer laws because corporations were strong enough to preempt," he said.
A letter signed by Hood and others is in the hands of department of transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. It reports this year, U.S. airlines are expected to earn $57 billion dollars from service fees and $7 billion dollars from baggage fees alone.
"All we're asking is just let the people know what the fees are before you put it on their bill and they sign and look back and realize they've been overcharged," said Hood.
The U.S. Department of Transportation was not available for comment.