Ending Soon! Save 33% on All Access

Major U.S. Airlines Are Suing the Government Over 'Capricious' Fee Transparency Law Southwest Airlines opted not to join the other airlines in the lawsuit.

By Emily Rella

A new rule regarding air travel fee transparency enacted by the U.S. Transportation Department earlier this month has sparked outrage among major U.S. airlines — and now the companies are suing the government to block the new order.

The lawsuit was filed on Monday in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on behalf of the trade group Airlines for America and certain carriers including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, and Alaska Airlines.

Related: Delayed, Cancelled Flights Now Eligible for Full Cash Refund

The airlines are calling the new rule "an abuse of discretion" and claim that the agency is overstepping its power by going "beyond its authority" in an attempt to "regulate private business operations in a thriving marketplace."

The law, announced on April 24, requires airlines to disclose and explain all "surprise junk fees" upfront "clearly, conspicuously, and accurately" to passengers before they purchase their tickets.

Southwest Airlines did not join the lawsuit — the airline has never charged for checked baggage or charged fees for canceling or changing a flight.

"Overall, we support every airline's right to price its products but believe fees should be clearly and consistently disclosed so consumers can make informed purchasing decisions," Southwest said, per the Associated Press.

The USDOT claims the new law will save travelers over $500 million a year in fees.

"Airlines should compete with one another to secure passengers' business — not to see who can charge the most in surprise fees," Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said at a press conference, at the time.

Related: Delta Airlines Is Increasing Checked Bag Fees This Week

"We will vigorously defend our rule protecting people from hidden junk fees and ensuring travelers can see the full price of a flight before they purchase a ticket. Many air travelers will be disappointed to learn that the airline lobby is suing to stop these common-sense protections," the department said Monday.

It's estimated that airlines made $33 billion in 2023 in checked bag fees alone.

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Business News

'Creators Left So Much Money on the Table': Kickstarter's CEO Reveals the Story Behind the Company's Biggest Changes in 15 Years

In an interview with Entrepreneur, Kickstarter CEO Everette Taylor explains the decision-making behind the changes, how he approaches leading Kickstarter, and his advice for future CEOs.

Business Ideas

87 Service Business Ideas to Start Today

Get started in this growing industry, with options that range from IT consulting to childcare.

Business Models

How to Become an AI-Centric Business (and Why It's Crucial for Long-Term Success)

Learn the essential steps to integrate AI at the core of your operations and stay competitive in an ever-evolving landscape.


5 Steps to Preparing an Engaging Industry Presentation

You can make a great impression and generate interest with an exciting, informative presentation. Find out my five secrets to creating an industry presentation guaranteed to wow.