Airfare transparency takes effect Thursday along with new passenger protections

On Thursday this week, the next round of passenger protections will take effect, including a requirement that airlines and other providers advertise airfare prices inclusive of taxes and mandatory fees. I took a tour around the web yesterday and noticed United Airlines (and Continental) have already begun advertising all-in rates.

First, I stopped by United’s website and noticed all their featured locations no longer showed a specific fare from each origin, rather a link to start a flight search.

a table with names and numbersWhen selecting between flight times, the all-in fare now populates in the middle box (shown below), whereas it used to only show the base fare requiring you to click through to book or click the link for “Price Breakdown†to reveal the total. Nice to see United launch this ahead of the deadline.

a screenshot of a computer screenOver at Continental, fare amounts for specific city pair promotions and destinations are displayed, but they are inclusive of the mandatory taxes and fees. (Hey! There really is a $99 fare!)

a screenshot of a screenI welcome this change since taxes and fees can equate for up to 20% of a domestic ticket’s total price, but do understand why airlines are against it. Gone will be attractive lead-in pricing, such as the $59 fares Virgin America had on their site yesterday (and today).

a woman looking out of a windowCome Thursday, that same ad will have to read, “From $69.80.†Airlines were staunchly against the new rules claiming other industries don’t have to advertise their products inclusive of tax and they feel it could lead to lowered demand.

Quick poll… would you like to see the base fares displayed, such as the $59 Virgin America example, or would you prefer to see the $69.80 all-in fare advertised?

[poll id=”5″]

The other protections going into effect Thursday are:

  • Bans against post-purchase price increases
  • Allowing a reservation to be held for 24-hours at the quoted fare or the ability to cancel a reservation in the same time period without penalty, so long as the flights in question are at least one-week in advance
  • Disclosure of baggage fees when booking flights and on itineraries
  • A requirement that the same baggage allowances and fees apply throughout a passenger’s journey, irrespective of airline(s) flown
  • Prompt notification of delays that exceed 30 minutes, as well as cancellations and diversions



  1. @FrequentMiler: Very good question. The airlines are required to allow the 24-hour hold/cancel policy, but I don’t know about the OTAs. I’ll try to find out and update the post.

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