Buttigieg Shocked Into Silence By Airline Group’s Lawsuit

(PatriotWise.com) — Several US airlines last Friday filed a petition with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals seeking to block the Biden administration’s new rule against so-called junk fees, arguing that it unfairly regulated private business operations and asserting that the Department of Transportation failed to establish that air travelers were unable to obtain information on fees for themselves.

American Airlines, Delta, United Airlines, JetBlue, Hawaiian Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and the industry trade group Airlines for America previously sued to block the Department of Transportation rule finalized in late April that requires airlines to disclose during the ticket-purchasing process any additional fees, such as added costs for last-minute baggage check-in or canceling a reservation.

The administration claimed when proposing the rule that it would save consumers $543 million each year.

The airlines previously argued that the rule was “arbitrary,” “capricious,” and “contrary to law.”

In a statement on Monday, Airlines for America said the rule would “greatly confuse” air travelers by inundating them with “information that will only serve to complicate the buying process.”

The Department of Transportation said it would defend the rule “vigorously,” arguing that it protected air travelers from “hidden junk fees” and ensured that they would know all of the costs before purchasing a ticket.

The Transportation Department claimed in a statement on Monday that air travelers would be “disappointed” to discover that the airlines are seeking “to stop these common-sense protections.”

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg blasted the airlines for seeking to block the rule, saying in a post on X that the rule simply required airlines to inform consumers of the fees charged before they purchase tickets.

He said he was “speechless” that the “airline lobby” would argue that providing the information would “confuse” consumers.

Southwest Airlines did not join the lawsuit since the Dallas-based airline allows passengers to check two bags at no charge and does not charge for rescheduled or canceled reservations.

Southwest said in a statement that while it supported the right of every airline to “price its products,” it believed that fees should be disclosed so air travelers “can make informed purchasing decisions.”

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