The Consumer Travel Alliance (CTA), Business Travel Coalition (BTC) and American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) urged President Obama and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to make all airline fees visible to consumers before they purchase a ticket.
In a letter to Obama the three groups urged him to ”unequivocally support a Transportation Department (DOT) rule that will eliminate the increasing financial burden inflicted upon consumers each and every additional day they are surprised at the airport by hidden airline fees.”
The groups said Obama was “overseeing perhaps the first consumer-centered Transportation Department in the history of commercial aviation“ and commended LaHood's efforts to require airlines to make their fees fully and easily accessible to both consumers and intermediaries in the travel industry.
The goal is to allow travelers to compare prices and know in advance how much their trips will cost, the groups said. “Leisure and business travelers alike are too often surprised to find hidden fees, adding up to billions of dollars, that can sometimes double the cost of an airfare upon arrival at the airport or upon completion of their travel purchase. This situation is ruining vacations and undermining business travel management processes,” the letter said.
“Just as the Transportation Department has required of airlines full disclosure on other issues critical to consumers, it should require airlines to make all of their ancillary fee information, such as checked bag fees, easily accessible through online and offline travel agencies via the major reservations systems that power those ticketing systems,” the three groups said.
The letter w3as signed by Paul Ruden, Senior Vice President Legal & Industry Affairs, ASTA, Kevin Mitchell, Chairman, BTC and Charlie Leocha, Director, CTA.