The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) qualified its support for the Transparent Airfares Act of 2014 (HR 4156), which would allow advertisements for passenger air travel to state the base airfare and separately disclose any government imposed taxes and fees and the total cost of travel.
"GBTA will continue to work directly with the U.S. airlines to ensure the travel buyer’s rights and needs are represented in this matter. Until all concerns are addressed, GBTA cannot fully support the passage of this bill," the association said in a statement. "Airfare transparency must be maintained. Otherwise, the unintended consequences of this bill could outweigh its benefits."
"This bill, which is supported by the major U.S. airlines, states that its goal is to increase transparency in the makeup of total U.S. airline ticket prices, and ensure that airfare advertisements consistently break out the taxes and fees levied by the government on consumers," GBTA said.
"For corporations, who rely on business travel to drive business growth, the total cost of air travel is a major issue. GBTA’s U.S. study, Road Warriors Impact on Jobs and the Economy, found airfare is the largest spending category with travelers spending $128 per person per day on airfare during average business trips," GBTA said.
“While the objective of this bill is to make the traveling public aware of the impact of escalating taxes and fees, we must be sure that HR 4156 is in the best interest of the business traveler or the corporation that pays for their travel,” said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and COO. “Travelers need to know the full cost of the air ticket when comparing flights. However, GBTA also believes the public, whether traveling for business or leisure, should fully understand the impact of government imposed taxes and fees and that burden cannot be understated.”
According to the Travel Taxes in the U.S., The Best and Worst Cities to Visit in 2013, taxes levied specifically on travel-related services increased the total tax bill for a traveler by 58 percent, GBTA said.
“Not being able to compare full costs of flights will disadvantage the business traveler,” McCormick added. “In particular, a business traveler shopping within their company’s travel policy could pick a flight at a price that is within policy, only to find out when purchasing that the cost is outside of the policy causing unnecessary expenses.”