Nightly News   |  January 26, 2012

Airline fares become more transparent

New rules meant to avoid sticker shock will compensate customers who are bumped, notify passengers of delays and give customers 24 hours to cancel without penalty. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> now to what happens when you buy a plane ticket online. the price often looks so good and then all kinds of fees and taxes get piled on. the fare starts to look like nothing you first saw. today, a lot of that changed with new rules to force the airlines to make those prices more transparent from the start. our report tonight from nbc's tom costello.

>> reporter: the new rules are meant to avoid the sticker shock of millions of airlines customers experienced when booking online. as of today, the very first price that appears when booking a flight must include all taxes and fees. baggage fees must also be spelled out. no more teasing passengers with low prices that aren't real.

>> it's truth in advertising and it's for people who are not regular travelers.

>> reporter: southwest and spirit airlines are suing to overturn the rules arguing their fares now appear much higher.

>> the taxes are rolled in with the ticket price. so when you see that price, you don't know what's tax and what is ticket.

>> reporter: on spirit's website today, a warning popped up they're, quote, to high taxes and fees in the ticket price. the airline websites we checked clearly broke it all down. flying on delta, for example, from atlanta to london heathrow will cost you a total of $899. the ticket price is $308, but the taxes and fees are $591. fly chicago to dallas on american, $360, taxes and fees make up $21.

>> this isn't going to stop people from traveling. it's just going to make it more clear how much they are paying to do that.

>> reporter: travelers seem to like the idea.

>> this way you know exactly what you're getting when you're buying it. you're not surprised when you're pushing the button.

>> at least i won't feel like i'm being fooled. this way i'll see what it is, it's what i get.

>> reporter: airlines must compensate customers who are bumped, notify passengers of delays or cancellations and give customers 24 hours to cancel a reservation without penalty.

>> it's about respecting passengers.

>> reporter: respect in the air and on the ground. tom costello, nbc news, washington.