Despite new rules, airline fare advertising is still ‘sneaky’

New rules for airline fares began today and, predictably, the airlines don’t like them much.

Gone, at least by design, are the low fares that are advertised because all the fees and taxes aren’t mentioned. Consumers consistently have thought of the tactic as “sneaky.”

So there was some irony today when the head of one airline called the new rules “sneaky,” because the taxes and fees are now hidden in the advertised price.

But there’s actually nothing to prevent the airlines from revealing what those taxes and fees are.

Check out the fare search on US Airways for a flight from Minneapolis to Boston this afternoon:


Simple. The entire fare is listed, and the part of the fare that is taxes and fees is also listed.

But the rules don’t eliminate one of the “sneakiest” of all airline fare advertising tactics: There’s usually only one seat on sale at the advertised price.

Watch what happens when you want to travel with a second person.


  • Chris

    Here is a quick question in re to this story. If I am still being shown prices per person, why did the tax rate change? Should the only thing that change be the price of the tickets?

  • nic

    Chris, I’m guessing that tax and fees are pegged to price rather than passengers.