by Mia Taylor
Last updated: 6:24 PM ET, Wed March 29, 2023
Hidden travel fees cost consumers billions of dollars annually, but newly introduced legislation aims to crack down on this practice.
The proposed legislation, titled the Junk Fee Prevention Act, was brought forth by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and aims to end the unfair surprise costs for consumers and mandates "airline, entertainment, ticketing industry fairness."
The measure is designed to bring transparency to the marketplace and comes on the heels of President Joe Biden's pledge during the State of the Union to address the issue of hidden travel fees.
"The legislation would eliminate excessive, hidden, and unnecessary fees imposed on consumers and require full prices of services to be provided upfront, ensuring transparency in the ticketing, hotel, and entertainment industries, as well as prevent airlines from imposing a fee to seat families together," states a press release from Blumenthal's office.
Blumenthal called such fees "nickel and diming" Americans to distraction and said the practice must be stopped. "Airline travel, concert going, common purchases-seemingly almost everywhere-consumers are compelled to pay excessive hidden charges," said Blumenthal in a statement.
"Our bill will help end this price gouging-forcing full disclosure upfront and restricting abusive fees. It will mandate basic common sense fairness and transparency, which consumers rightly demand and deserve."
During the State of the Union on February 7, President Biden urged Congress to pass such a measure to eliminate these types of fees. The proposed legislation would also empower the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission to issue new rules and enforce violations.
Additionally, the law would require airlines to seat children with an accompanying adult at no extra cost and also allows the U.S. Department of Transportation to impose penalties when this rule is violated.
In particular, the proposed legislation takes aim at excessive online ticket fees, airline family seating fees, exorbitant early termination fees, and surprise resort or destination fees. The measure has already been endorsed by the Consumer Federation of America, the National Consumers League, and Consumer Reports.
"The Junk Fee Prevention Act will crack down on some of the most egregious junk fees in ticket sales, hotel reservations, air travel, and telecommunications," said Erin With, director of consumer protection at the Consumer Federation of America.
For the latest travel news, updates and deals, be sure to subscribe to the daily TravelPulse newsletter here.
Topics From This Article to Explore