New Federal Law Angers Budget Airlines

A Spirit A319 in flight.

A newly proposed federal law is being railed against by budget airlines like Spirit, Southwest, and Allegiant. The Department of Transportation (DOT) recently stated all airlines must itemize government taxes and present that as part of their fare. Airlines like Spirit, who advertises one-way tickets for $9 and then tacks on additional charges later, has been angered by the ruling, and sent out an email to their customers stating the U.S. government is “hiding taxes in your airfares (so then) they can carry out their hidden agenda and quietly increase their taxes.”

The ruling will give consumers a more realistic picture of the price they will actually pay for their ticket, not just the low-cut promotional price. Consumers are thrilled. “They should tell us everything we need to know,” says Mary-Jane Reeser of San Diego, California. “I’m tired of booking a flight for $300, only to find out it’s actually $386!” Airlines for America, an industry group, said taxes now total 20% of a $300 round-trip domestic flight.

One of the arguments the airlines are making is that it’s uncommon to have taxes included in the advertised price of most consumer goods, such as fast food or electronics.

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