Travel agents are being urged to provide clients with the opportunity to weigh in on the hidden airline fees issue that directly affects them.
Launched on Tuesday by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), the Consumer Travel Alliance (CTA) and Business Travel Coalition (BTC) a new "Mad as Hell" initiative wants to ensure that consumers, travel agents and corporate travel managers have a voice at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) deliberations on hidden airline fees.
“In just the first 24 hours we are on our way to 1,000 signatories. Personal stories posted by visitors regarding being surprised at the airport by fees offer compelling evidence that DOT protections from hidden-fee abuse are imperative,” Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the BTC reports.
The DOT will be accepting public comments until September 23 on a sweeping set of passenger protections. “We believe the most pressing issue facing airline customers is to have full disclosure of airline fees before a purchase decision is made and in a format that enables apples-to-apples comparison-shopping among airlines,” Mitchell said.
Central to the initiative is a petition urging the DOT to take action on hidden fees. “We hope to deliver on September 23 (designated Mad As Hell Day!) thousands of petition signatures to DOT Secretary Ray LaHood,” Mitchell said. Visit www.madashellabouthiddenfees.com/sign-our-petition-3.html to sign.
Other ways to help cited by Mitchell:
1. If you are a corporate travel manager, post a message on your corporate Intranet and provide your travelers with an opportunity to directly engage this issue. Empower your internal customers to ease their frustrations on the road.
2. If you are a travel agency, provide your clients with the opportunity to weigh in on an industry issue that directly affects them, and you. Add value to your client relationships, they will appreciate it.
3. If you are a travel industry or consumer group, let your members know of this campaign, and your support of it, and ask them to sign the petition. Provide them with a platform and bullhorn to have their voices heard in Washington, and Brussels.
4. Post a link to the Mad as Hell website on your website, Facebook page, Twitter feed or other social network. (Request free banner ads.)
5. If you want to be really creative, you can make your own YouTube video and post it to the Mad As Hell About Fees YouTube channel.
Mitchell urges agents to forward information by email to friends, family members and colleagues telling them about the issue and asking them to visit the website and sign the petition. E-mail him at [email protected].