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Open Allies Commends U.S. Department of Transportation for Passenger Protections in New Rule, Says Next Rulemaking on Hidden Fees Will Be Even More Important for Consumers

WASHINGTON, April 20, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Open Allies for Airfare Transparency, a coalition representing more than 350 companies and organizations in the managed travel community, issued the following statement today on the new rule on passenger protections announced by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Andrew Weinstein, director of Open Allies:

"This rule is like Apollo 11 passing the halfway point to the moon.  It's a major accomplishment, and Secretary LaHood and his staff deserve great praise for getting us this far, but we still have a long way to go to our destination, ensuring that all travelers can find and compare airline fees, no matter where they book their tickets.  

"We believe the upcoming rulemaking announced today will be the most important one for consumers to date, as it will focus specifically on disclosure of hidden fees for the 60% of passengers who book their tickets through non-airline channels.  It is critical for DOT to take swift action on the new rule, given the ongoing consumer harm and confusion from such fees being hidden.

"We look forward to working closely with DOT to help finalize pro-consumer standards requiring airlines to share all of their hidden fees in a transactable format through every sales channel with which they choose to do business."

Facts about hidden fees:

  • Major U.S. airlines charged $9.2 billion in ancillary fees last year for things like baggage, seat assignments, and priority boarding, according to the Consumer Travel Alliance. Source: http://consumertravelalliance.org/?p=458
  • More than 60% of all tickets are purchased through non-airline channels, like traditional travel agencies and online travel sites, with whom the airlines refuse to share those fees, making them invisible to consumers and impossible to compare, according to a report last year by the General Accounting Office.  Source:  http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d10785.pdf
  • Two-thirds of consumers said they have been surprised at the airport by hidden fees on their recent trips, according to a survey conducted last year by the Consumer Travel Alliance. Source:  http://consumertravelalliance.org/?p=367

For more information and a full list of coalition members, please visit www.faretransparency.org.

About Open Allies for Airline Transparency

Open Allies for Airfare Transparency, a coalition representing all of the stakeholders in the managed travel community, works to promote price transparency and full access to airline pricing and fee information.  Learn more about the Open Allies coalition and join the campaign to preserve comparison shopping and competition in air travel at www.faretransparency.org or on Twitter at @openairfare.

SOURCE Open Allies for Airfare Transparency



RELATED LINKS
http://www.faretransparency.org

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