A4A Launches Campaign to Restore Transparency in Airfare Advertising Rules

Encourages customers, airline employees, stakeholders and the general public to visit www.airfaretransparency.com and send a letter to the Administration and Members of Congress voicing their support for transparent airfares

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2014 – Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today launched a campaign calling on the Administration and Members of Congress to take action to restore transparency in the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) airline advertising rules to ensure consumers know exactly how much of their travel dollars are going to federal taxes.

In 2012, the federal government ended a 25-year-old practice that enabled airlines to clearly delineate in ads both the base airfare and the amount of taxes and fees that customers had to pay for a ticket. Because of that ruling, the government today is able to hide the outsized, ever-increasing amount that airline customers pay in government-imposed levies. In fact, the government’s ability to conceal such extra costs actually increases the temptation of lawmakers to raise taxes on airlines and their passengers and further puts air travel at a competitive disadvantage to other modes of transportation that do not have to include taxes in their fares, which ultimately hurts our economy and jobs.

Four decades ago, taxes and fees accounted for less than one tenth of the price of an airline ticket. Today, the amount has skyrocketed to nearly a quarter of the price or $62 on a typical $300 roundtrip domestic ticket. That amount is scheduled to rise in July to $63 when the Transportation Security Administration’s passenger tax increases to $5.60 on a one-way trip. It could go even higher if other taxes proposed by the Obama administration become law.

A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio noted that airlines have increased ticket transparency to unprecedented levels by breaking out the cost of services customers want so they can customize their travel experience, while also fighting against tax hikes that drive up the cost of travel. The government, however, continues to bury federally imposed taxes in the advertised cost of a ticket, making it more difficult for travelers to see what part of their ticket goes to air travel and what part goes to Washington. Calio issued a call to action for Congress and the Administration to restore the transparency that airline customers deserve.

“The government is playing a game of hide and seek by burying government taxes in the cost of a ticket – it’s adding insult to injury for airline customers already paying more than their fair share to Uncle Sam,” said Calio. “Today’s travelers want to know what they are paying for, and we urge the Administration and Congress to follow the lead of the airlines and give consumers the information they need and the transparency they deserve.”


Airlines for America (A4A) members are Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, FedEx, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and UPS. Air Canada is an associate member.

A4A advocates on behalf of the leading U.S. airlines, both passenger and cargo carriers. A4A works collaboratively with industry stakeholders, federal agencies, the Administration, Congress, labor and other groups to improve aviation for the traveling and shipping public.

For more information about the airline industry, visit our website airlines.org and our blog, A Better Flight Plan, at airlines.org/blog.

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