Top American Airlines Sue Biden Over New Advertising Rules

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In an unprecedented move, several reputed American airline companies have decided to take the federal government and President Joe Biden’s administration to court after a significant change in the federal policies that dictated how flight fares should be advertised online. The recent lawsuit has sparked a nationwide debate on the new transportation overhaul.

The Biden administration, in partnership with the US Department of Transportation (USDOT), had recently attempted to ensure that any additional expenses would not catch airline passengers off-guard at the ticket counters. The new pricing mandate issued by the USDOT was challenged in a court of law by a multitude of airlines.

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As part of this pricing reshuffle, USDOT decreed that all commercial airlines and ticketing websites should make apparent any additional costs or fees at the very beginning of a booking process. The rationale of these requirements was to eliminate ambiguity and protect the customers from the so-called “junk fees,” additional costs crammed into the tail end of a transaction.

However, the government’s pursuit to purge these added fees has extended beyond the airline industry. It has also faced backlash from casino resorts, another industry known for incorporating hidden charges during payment procedures.

The lobbying group that has taken up the cudgels on behalf of several major airlines, such as American, Delta, United, JetBlue, Hawaiian, and Alaska, submitted a lawsuit to a federal court in Louisiana. They are refuting the administration’s recent parameters, claiming the move is an infringement upon their business operations.

According to Airlines for America, the plaintiffs in the case, these changes in policy are “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and otherwise contrary to law.” They further argued that the USDOT’s insistence on upfront disclosure of all baggage, cancellation, or change fees will confuse customers and lead to reduced sales; displayed prices could appear considerably higher than the amount a traveler would actually pay if they have status, do not check a bag, or do not need to change a reservation.

However, the Transportation Department has remarked that they are very much prepared to “vigorously defend” the new rule. As per them, this move is an effort to shield American citizens from “hidden junk fees.” They are firm in their belief that the revised regulations could potentially save consumers over half a billion dollars each year.

Casino resort fees have had their fair share of criticism from President Biden. Particularly in Las Vegas, where daily resort fees can cost up to $50 a night plus tax. These charges supposedly cover amenities like gym access, news services, boarding pass printing, Wi-Fi, and local room calling. Customers argue that the value they receive doesn’t justify the additional cost and that resorts are employing this tactic to milk more money from reduced upfront room rates.

Several casino operators are trying to comply with Biden’s quest for transparency in pricing. For instance, MGM Resorts, the largest operator on the Las Vegas Strip, has taken the initiative to disclose the resort fee at the start of the booking process.

This weekend, for a couple of nights’ stay at the Bellagio, the MGM website quotes a nightly rate of $599, with an obvious mention of a $50 daily resort fee, relaying a total cost of $649 before taxes. On the other hand, Caesars Entertainment has not yet adopted this pricing transparency. For the same two nights this weekend, a room at Caesars Palace is priced at $699, but the resort fee of $49.95 is mentioned only after navigating deeper into the reservation website.