The U.S. Department of Transportation should require airlines to share ancillary fee information with distribution channels where they sell their base fares and in a format that enables the purchase of such services in the same transaction as the ticket purchase, says a newly released survey by the Business Travel Coalition (BTC).
The BTC survey includes 127 travel industry professionals from 14 countries and addresses key issues in advance of the anticipated DOT rulemaking regarding the disclosure of airline ancillary services fees.
"Since major U.S. airlines in 2008 began unbundling their products and charging for services previously included in the price of a ticket they have refused to provide ancillary fee data to travel agencies in the U.S. and around the world so that customers, including business travelers using online booking tools, could see, compare and buy such services in the same transaction as the ticket purchase," BTC says in its analysis.
"Airlines for 5 years have ignored their very best corporate customers demands for both this information and for the restoration of efficient comparison-shopping," BTC said.
Greater than 90 percent of all survey participants believe that the marketplace is failing as evidenced by the fact that in 5 years not a single major U.S. airline has responded to its customers demands, BTC said.
"Some 97.8 percent of travel managers said they think that DOT should exercise its authority to police unfair and deceptive marketing practices," said BTC chairman Kevin Mitchell.
"The airline industry has substantially consolidated and in refusing to provide fee information airlines are in competitive lockstep with each other - a central concern of the U.S. Department of Justice in its lawsuit to block the merger of US Airways and American Airlines," added Mitchell.
Full results, including survey participants comments, can be accessed at http://btcnews.co/1fUQR6o.