Robert MenendezAn analysis of 2010 holiday airfares released by and USA Today shows a dramatic spike in the cost of flying compared to last year – almost 60 percent higher for Thanksgiving and 40 percent higher for Christmas on some routes:

In response to this report, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), author of the Clear Airfares Act, is urging final passage of the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill before the end of the year. The Senate-passed version of the bill includes a slightly-modified version of Clear Airfares, which would provide consumers searching for airline tickets with a full and upfront breakdown of airfares and fees before they pay. The conference committee negotiating the final version of the FAA bill has yet to complete its work.

“This report makes it clear that base airfares are much higher this holiday season, but families should also be able to account for potential additional fees in order to make the best financial decisions possible,” said Menendez. “With the Clear Airfares Act, we can equip families with full and upfront breakdown of airfares and fees, so that they aren’t surprised by additional costs when they arrive at the airport. At a time when families are watching every last penny, they should have a full understanding of what they are paying for before they purchase airline tickets. I am hoping that the FAA bill can be completed before Congress adjourns, so that air travelers can have this price protection sooner rather than later.”

Menendez’s Clear Airfares provision aims to bring transparency to the price of flying through a full, clear and upfront breakdown of airfares and fees. Before a consumer purchases a ticket on the Internet, the legislation would require airlines and third-party websites to give consumers a complete and understandable breakdown of his or her particular airfare, as well as any other possible fees that might be incurred on the flight (such as baggage, seat assignments, etc.). The Senate and House of Representatives must negotiate and pass a final version of the FAA bill before it goes to President Barack Obama to be signed into law.

Currently, consumers must click to peripheral web pages and wade through often confusing text to understand whether or not their airfare includes surcharges and what other taxes and fees may have been added.

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