Industry Support Grows for Fee Transparency

writingThe need for full transparency and purchasability of airline ancillary services and related fees - urged in a keynote speech at the Global Business Travel Association's (GBTA) annual convention in Boston by GBTA Executive Director
and Chief Operating Officer Michael W. McCormick
  - won the support of the Open Allies for Airfare Transparency (Open Allies).

"GBTA fully supports the free-market right of businesses to create and follow their own chosen business models, including charging ancillary fees. But travel professionals must be presented with an accurate view of the full cost of products. To that end, it is imperative that there is full transparency to buyers on fares and fees. This also applies to booking, ticketing, billing, and fulfilling those services," McCormick said.

Open Allies for Airfare Transparency (Open Allies) said it deeply appreciates the support of the GBTA on one of the most important issues facing the managed-travel community and traveling public.

Kevin Mitchell, chairman of Business Travel Coalition, a founding Open Allies member, said the loss since 2008 of transparency and purchasability of airline ancillary services and associated fees is incredibly frustrating for travel professionals looking to compare the all-in price of air travel options for customers. 

Mitchell noted that the Amadeus Review of Ancillary Revenue was released today and shows that the airlines ancillary fee revenue has jumped 66-percent since 2009.

"GBTA's endorsement of greater fee transparency is yet another example of why the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) needs to issue a  new rule to address this critical issue. While the DOT has taken important steps towards improved fee transparency for consumers, we need fee data in real time, not on a static page," said Charlie Leocha, director of the Consumer Travel Alliance (CTA)

"GBTA's endorsement of greater fee transparency and purchasability is yet another example of why DOT needs to proceed with a rule that ensures efficient comparison shopping across airlines for the all-in price of a ticket at any point of sale used by airlines, managed-travel programs and consumers," Open Allies said.

With virtually 100 percent of airline tickets procured by major corporations through travel management companies, or certified travel departments, full  disclosure and purchasability of ancillary services in real time is a bedrock requirement for an effectively managed corporate travel program, Mitchell said.

The nearly 400 members of Open Allies believe that it is a reasonable request that airlines' very best customers be enabled through their preferred distribution channel to  purchase airline tickets and ancillary services based on clear, complete and actionable information, Mitchell said.