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The government takes on hidden fees.

January 18, 2017

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Tuesday a proposal that would force airlines to include baggage fees in their listed ticket prices.

“Displaying the fees for transporting carry-on and checked bags alongside the fare will make the cost of travel more transparent,” outgoing Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said, Travel Weekly reported.

The rule would apply to airlines, as well as to outside ticket agents and travel agents.

Each year, airlines make millions of dollars in revenue from baggage fees. Combined, airlines in the U.S. made $3.1 billion in revenue from baggage fees in 2015, according to figures from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

The revenue varies greatly airline to airline. Of some of the top carriers, American came in first in terms of baggage fee revenue, making $839.4 million in 2016. Delta came in second with $659.1 million in baggage fee revenue, and United ranked third with $520 million.

The proposed rule from the transportation department builds on a series of 2014 proposals aimed at providing air passengers with more transparency in the ticket-buying process. The original 2014 rules took aim at hidden fees, last-minute seat assignments, and a lack of data reporting to third-party sites, according to the same report in Travel Weekly.

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer has been a vocal advocate for airfare transparency, arguing on the behalf of policies that allow consumers to determine the best price possible upfront.

“Air travelers are sick and tired of being nickel-and-dimed by the airlines that are already making sky-high profits. This proposal from the DOT is a step in the right direction to require air carriers and ticketing agencies to provide customers with critical information up-front on potential fees. Hammering travelers with hidden fees is downright wrong," Schumer said of DOT'S proposal in a statement shared with T+L.

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