The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will face new pressure to establish consumer protections ensuring travelers can see and compare the total cost of their air travel - and buy all essential parts of their air travel wherever they purchase airfare.
One source of the pressure is a newly launched 'This is Your Passenger Speaking" campaign demanding an end to hidden fees in airline travel. This is Your Passenger Speaking, which already claims the support of more than 60,000 consumers who have spoken out against hidden fees, is urging the DOT to support consumer-friendly policies.
“For far too long, airlines have been hiding fees from millions of travelers for things like baggage, seat assignments and boarding,” said David Kelly, spokesman for the campaign. “Passengers, from once-a-year vacation goers to frequent business flyers have had enough of hidden fees.”
This is Your Passenger Speaking is an Open Allies for Airfare Transparency campaign.
Open Allies for Airfare Transparency is a coalition of nearly 400 independent distributors and sellers of air travel, corporate travel departments, travel trade associations and consumer organizations. Members believe that consumers should be able to see, compare and buy the total price of their airfare.
"While DOT has taken important steps towards addressing fee transparency, most notably issuing a 2011 rule requiring airlines to disclose fees on their own websites, much more can and should be done. The current rule does not sufficiently protect consumers from hidden and unexpected fees, and does not protect consumers’ ability to effectively comparison shop for airfares," Open Allies said.
“When buying airline tickets, I should be able to see the true total cost of my trip when I purchase my tickets. Businesses should operate that way; it’s fair and it just makes sense,” said Kelly. “And, I know fees are not going away, but that doesn’t mean they should be kept secret when I’m shopping for air travel or derail my budget once I’m at the airport. I should be able to see and compare the full price of my ticket, including fees for baggage and seat reservations, at the same time I shop for and purchase my ticket, not on the day of my flight.”
This Is Your Passenger Speaking is urging DOT to adopt a straightforward, pro-consumer rule requiring airlines to share core fee information in all the channels through which they sell base airfares. "That means sharing fee information in a simple to use and purchasable format with online travel sites and travel agents, who many consumers rely upon to find the best air travel options," Open Allies says.
This Is Your Passenger Speaking is hosting an electronic petition on their website, www.passengerspeaking.com, as well as other action steps people can take to support the campaign’s efforts.