Right on time, Farelogix reports that travel agencies can link to and use data from www.iflybags.com as part of their strategy to comply with new U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) airline baggage fee disclosure rules (under sections 399.85(b) & 399.85(c)) that take effect January 24, 2012.
Travel agencies using iflybags can obtain instant access to the most up-to-date information on airline checked baggage allowances and fees for over 325 airlines, based on the specific traveler, number and weight of planned checked bags/items, and airline-itinerary specific information.
The system uses data filed by airlines with ATPCO and gives travel agencies a robust tool for obtaining baggage fee/allowance information without having to send customers to airline websites, Farelogix says.
Initially launched as a tool for consumers, iflybags reports it supports two key aspects of the new DOT regulations that impact travel agencies:
· Requirement to advise of possible fees at the time of a fare quote: iflybags offers extensive pre-purchase search options that make it possible to see information on free checked baggage allowances and rules, even without a flight number. When a flight number is included in the search, specific charges per bag may also be quoted. In addition, if traveler loyalty status is included in the search, the baggage allowance will be modified accordingly.
· Requirement to inform passengers of fees on e-ticket confirmation: iflybags provides exact baggage fee information, customized to the individual traveler, based on the number and weight of his or her bags, passenger type and frequent flyer status.
iflybags reports it uses a unique optimization engine that enables travel agencies to go beyond the DOT requirements and provide travelers with the most cost-efficient method of allocating bags amongst a group of travelers within the same reservation. Agency integration with iflybags can be achieved by a hyperlink from relevant shopping and e-ticket confirmation pages within the agency selling system or website.
“iflybags was created to eliminate traveler confusion about checked baggage allowances and fees,” said Jim Davidson, president and CEO of Farelogix. “Since over half of travelers purchase tickets through travel agencies, it is only logical that the tool is of interest to the agency community.”
According to Davidson, the company has seen a dramatic increase in inquiries from travel sellers as the January 24 deadline approaches.
“We’ve seen a direct correlation between the volume of inquiries and the imminence of the DOT deadline,” continued Davidson. “This, coupled with steady growth in consumers using the site, tells us that iflybags is successfully filling an unmet need for transparency surrounding the issue of baggage fees.”
An iflybags iPhone app is scheduled for launch in February.