So the airlines have point. After all, Macy's can advertise a sweater without the tax, but that's not a great example since most of us can calculate that in our heads. A better argument is, how come hotels and rental cars can advertise low prices that balloon dramatically when it's time to pay? A very good question, FTC. Let's fix that!
But I don't think this new legislation is the answer: This relaxation of the rules could be misleading and make apples-to-apples ticket price comparisons nearly impossible.
As for transparency, the proper way to make sure consumers are acutely aware of all the taxes and fees is to require the entire litany to be displayed prominently on the credit card checkout page as well as on each and every boarding pass, and not allow them to be hidden away while consumers are shopping or reviewing an advertisement. But first and foremost, let's see that total ticket price.
Another legislator agrees. The newly introduced "Real Transparency in Airfares Act" would continue the DOT protections, with a twist: Sites that don't advertise total airfare costs up front as currently required could be slammed with a fine of up to $55,000 per day, doubling the current penalty.
Now let me ask you: Would you feel any better knowing your airline ticket would cost less if only it weren't for those darned taxes and fees? Or would you like to know what your ticket will set you back right from the start? I understand why the airlines want us to know about these extras but show us the all-inclusive price too because that's what we have to pay.
The opinions expressed by Rick Seaney are his alone and not those of ABC News.