ASTA and BTC Seek Agent Support to Fight Hidden Airline Fees

Both the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and the Business Travel Coalition (BTC) are seeking support from travel agents and corporate travel managers for legislation that directs the Department of Transportation to require airlines to disclose ancillary fee information (e.g., checked baggage charges, at airport ticketing fees, etc.) in the same electronic and transactable formats used to publish airfares.

In a letter to the industry, the BTC noted that, over the next few weeks, there will be U.S. House and Senate meetings to reconcile competing Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bills.

‘This will be our last opportunity to influence the outcome of one of the most important issues facing our industry,” the BTC and ASTA said.

The conference committee that will conduct these reconciliation meetings will be comprised of several senators and representatives led by Senator John D. Rockefeller (D-WV) and Congressman John Mica (R-7th FL) respectively, BTC said.

“We have previously provided members of Congress with the perspective of leisure-travel consumers on this issue,” BTC said. “It is now time to focus committee members on the concerns and views of major corporate buyers of air transportation services, i.e. corporate travel managers.”
The BTC and ASTA suggested corporate travel mangers and travel agents take the following actions:

• Corporate travel managers can lend their name to thec onference committee signatory letter by the close of business on Tuesday, April 19.
• Travel management companies are urged to reach out to corporate clients and “empower them to make a difference by signing on to this critically important communication.” BTC urged travel management companies to send a copy of the signatory letter and refer clients to where they can sign the letter.

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