The U.S. Transportation Department has taken its first steps to undo actions by the Barack Obama administration to improve consumer protections for airline travelers, putting on hold a proposal to require more disclosure of passenger fees.
The process of collecting public comments for the proposal has been suspended, President Donald Trump’s DOT said in a posting dated Thursday on the Regulations.gov website.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s move was praised by Airlines for America, the Washington trade group for large carriers. “We applaud Secretary Chao’s leadership today and look forward to an era of smarter regulation that protects consumers from unfair practices, but does not step in when action is not warranted,” A4A President and CEO Nicholas Calio said in a release.
The agency is also delaying the implementation of a separate regulation requiring airlines to disclose when they mishandle wheelchairs and motorized scooters for the disabled, according to another filing. The rule, which became final on Dec. 2, won’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2019, a one-year delay, according to the DOT’s notice.
The move had been sought by A4A and Delta Air Lines Inc., according to the DOT notice.
Airlines generate about $4 billion a year in bag fees, and the Obama administration sought to make them disclose those fees when people purchase their tickets. In a separate action required by Congress, the department is exploring whether to require a refund of those fees if luggage arrives late.
–With assistance from Michael Sasso and Mary Schlangenstein
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