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BTC Seeks Dialogue On Ancillary FeesNovember 12, 2010 By: George Dooley
The Business Travel Coalition (BTC) is inviting travel management corporation (TMC) executives and corporate travel managers to join an online community BTC has created to participate in the ongoing debate over airline ancillary fees. BTC says it wants to create a constructive dialogue over public policy positions and to educate decision makers in Brussels (European Union) and Washington, D.C.
“BTC supports the airline ancillary fees-model so long as TMCs and corporate travel programs have real-time access to complete, accurate and transactable ancillary fee data,” BTC chairman Kevin Mitchell said. “TMCs and corporations clearly understand the importance of a healthy airline industry. However, this data is necessary for efficient comparison-shopping and to enable the capture of all-important purchasing data for corporate travel program measurement and management. Without the data travelers have no ability to compare apples-to-apples all-in fares and are often surprised with fees, while corporate travel programs are sub-optimized. Some airlines have been open to collaboration in this area because they respect the requirements of modern travel management and appear to be earnestly interested in improving their revenue position by selling additional products and services. Others have not been so open, forcing Washington and Brussels to take a closer look at consumer protections.”
Mitchell said that recent developments in the U.S. have elevated concerns among corporate travel managers, many of whom have communicated with BTC and asked for its continued advocacy. To participate in the BTC’s collaborative initiative TMC’s and corporate travel managers should contact Mitchell. Participants must be either a TMC executive or corporate travel manager.
The BTC has been working on the airline ancillary fee issue during the past year in the U.S. and Europe, Mitchell notes. This includes testifying before the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Subcommittee on Aviation, and meeting with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood. Earlier this year BTC also delivered a signatory letter signed by TMC executives and travel managers in Europe and North America to Secretary LaHood as well as a letter signed by 50,000 concerned airline passengers.