ASTA Comments on One-Price Policy

ASTA submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), asking that it neither eliminate nor relax enforcement of its One-Price Policy. ASTA said the DOT has a golden opportunity to produce a user-friendly One-Price Policy that consumers, airlines and travel agents can understand. The 'One-Price Policy' was established by the DOT in 1984 with the intent of clarifying what is and is not a deceptive price advertisement. The policy mandates how airfares are advertised, allowing the exclusion from the total price of fees that are just paid to governments; and those paid for agency services that are not part of the transportation service. Everything else, including fuel surcharges, must be incorporated into the quoted price. The DOT is now proposing that changes to the policy be made on the grounds that (1) a long time has passed since the original rule was adopted, and that (2) electronic communications have led to changes in marketing practices and consumer sophistication. ASTA opposes any relaxation or elimination of the rule on grounds that there is no evidence that suggests a change is warranted or that the policy has failed to accomplish its purpose. Rather than dramatically altering the policy, ASTA wants no changes to the One-Price Policy without notice and the opportunity for industry and consumer comment. ASTA also wants enforcement action under the One-Price Policy to cease until rule-making procedures have been completed to add new elements to policy statement. In short, ASTA says it wants to let everyone know where they stand.