President Biden has been talking up poor disclosure of airline fees, as though consumers don’t know that checked bags come with a fee, or that airlines don’t tell them what a seat assignment might cost (they literally present a seat map with prices, because they are trying to sell these seats).
Few politicians have ever hurt themselves railing against airlines. There are areas where airlines can do better, and consumers can rarely sue airlines because their suits are mostly pre-empted by the Airline Deregulation Act. But there’s something striking about the President of the United States talking about the national problem of undisclosed change fees and checked bag fees, when the Federal Reserve is poised to send the economy into recession to rein in inflation (which is exacerbated by the administration’s own energy and spending policies).
Remarks last night from @POTUS @JoeBiden on airline fees. pic.twitter.com/gD2z5xc3ut
— Ross Feinstein (@RossFeinstein) November 2, 2022
In a way this reminds me of former President Bill Clinton pivoting from major policy initiatives to school uniforms. No matter what you think of the Department of Transportation’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on airline fees (and there are issues with it, like generating longer telephone hold times and effectively banning services that help consumers but aren’t approved by airlines) this hardly seem to rise to the level of the President.