Congress considers striking down Obama-era rule requiring airlines to advertise full price of flights
Lawmakers may enact a law that would get rid of the Obama-era requirement mandating that airlines show the full price of flights in their advertisements, in addition to changing training requirements for airline pilots.
The 773-page proposal, which was released by the bipartisan House Transportation Committee, would reauthorize FAA programs over the next five years.
The bill would allow airlines to advertise the "base airfare" of flights, without taxes or fees involved, though they would still be required to disclose the total another way. Consumer advocates fear that booking flights will become less transparent in the future.
"These protections were hard fought and took years to enact," American Economic Liberties Project expert William McGee told the Associated Press.
Travelers check American Airlines flight information screens for their flight status at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Feb. 22, 2023. (AP photo/Nam Y. Huh, File / AP Images)
"Any consumer can tell you that online airline bookings are confusing enough. The last thing we need is to roll back an existing protection that provides effective transparency," McGee added.
The bipartisan bill would also allow pilots-in-training to spend 250 hours of training time in simulators rather than actual planes, up from the current allowance of 100 hours. The requirement of having 1,500 hours of training in total would remain in place.
A United Airlines pilot told the Associated Press that changing the simulator rule is a "horrible idea."
Passengers wait for the resumption of flights at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago after the Federal Aviation Administration had ordered airlines to pause all domestic departures due to a system outage, Jan. 11, 2023. (REUTERS/Jim Vondruska, File / Reuters Photos)
"That rule, like so many federal aviation regulations, is written in blood, literally," Thompson explained. "That regulation came about because of the Colgan Air crash and other crashes that involved experience issues."
U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wa., explained that the pilot provision was the result of compromising with Republicans, who were in favor of it.
An American Airlines Airbus A319 airplane takes off past the air traffic control tower at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Va., Jan. 11, 2023. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images, File / Getty Images)
The bill would also require video recorders in airplanes' cockpits to assist with accident investigations, which pilots have opposed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.