In direct response to a bill in the House of Representatives that could keep air travelers in the dark on certain costs during the ticket purchase process, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has unveiled legislation to maintain the current level of transparency and further punish those who fail to post the total costs up front.

New Jersey U.S. Senator Robert Menendez announces his "Real Transparency in Airfares Act" at Newark Liberty International Airport. (Townsquare Media)

Menendez’s “Real Transparency in Airfares Act” keeps the existing rule that all ticket sellers must initially disclose the full fare, including all taxes, when consumers search for flights. The “Transparent Airfares Act,” proposed in the House, would allow sellers to break out certain taxes from the base airfare and introduce them later in the buying process.

Menendez said customers could end up spending hundreds of dollars more than they originally planned if the House bill becomes law.

“Only later would the consumer realize that the price they saw didn’t include tax,” Menendez said during a press event at Newark Liberty International Airport.

Airlines have suggested the taxes be separated from the initial fare so that consumers understand where the extra money is headed, but Menendez said all sellers already have the option to share that type of information up front, as long as the total cost is the one that’s most prominent on the initial screen.

His measure would also double the maximum penalty, from $27,500 to $55,000 per day, for any violators of the full-fare advertisement rules.