ASTA and BTC Link Up As ‘Open Allies’ Coalition Adds Members

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and Business Travel Coalition (BTC) are among the founding members of a new market-wide coalition – the Open Allies for Airfare Transparency. The coalition is expected to attract substantial support from the global industry.

The yet-to-be-launched Open Allies for Airfare Transparency (Open Allies) grew out of industry efforts and successes during 2010 as they “communicated our public-policy concerns about threats to an efficient and independent travel distribution system,” according to a letter from the groups. "We wrote to airline CEOs, met with senior leaders at the airlines, sent a signatory letter to U.S. DOT Secretary LaHood signed by 300 travel industry professionals and delivered a petition signed by 50,000 airline passenger to DOT as part of our Mad As Hell About Hidden Airline Fees campaign.

“The mission of Open Allies will be to elevate public policy debate and serve as a unified voice of TMCs, corporate travel departments, travel agencies, online travel companies, GDSs and travel associations in North America and around the world in an effort to safeguard consumers’ ability to comparison shop among airlines, preserve workflow efficiencies and reduce costs.”

The letter contained a one-page backgrounder that outlines the mission and goals of the coalition and cited a January 6 Travel Agent article on our initiative in which the coalition’s director and spokesperson, Andrew Weinstein, is widely quoted. The letter contained the following:

“There are no membership fees; we simply want to benefit from your input as the debate moves forward and demonstrate the breadth of support within the industry for an independent, cost-effective travel distribution system. We also know you’re busy, so your participation can be as simple as adding your company's name to our roster, although we would be delighted if you wanted to take a more visible role as well. If after reviewing and considering this information and opportunity you would like to join Open Allies for Airfare Transparency, please email either one of us and enrollment information will be forwarded to you straightaway.”

The letter was signed by Paul M. Ruden, Esq., senior vice president Legal & Industry Affairs, ASTA and Kevin P. Mitchell, chairman BTC.

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