WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The Consumer Travel Alliance (CTA), Business Travel Coalition (BTC) and American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) today sent a letter to President Barack Obama praising his leadership, and that of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, for working to make all airline fees visible to consumers before they purchase a ticket. Text of the letter follows.
President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
On behalf of the 64,000 consumers who this fall signed a petition to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, conveying how deeply concerned they are about the problem of hidden airline fees, we write to applaud you and the Secretary for your extraordinary leadership in support of airline consumers. In the view of the American Society of Travel Agents, Business Travel Coalition and Consumer Travel Alliance, you are overseeing perhaps the first consumer-centered Transportation Department in the history of commercial aviation.
We strongly support Secretary LaHood's efforts to require airlines to make their fees fully and easily accessible to both consumers and intermediaries in the travel industry so that travelers can compare prices and know in advance how much their trips will cost. Leisure and business travelers alike are too often surprised to find hidden fees, adding up to billions of dollars, that can sometimes double the cost of an airfare upon arrival at the airport or upon completion of their travel purchase. This situation is ruining vacations and undermining business travel management processes.
Just as the Transportation Department has required of airlines full disclosure on other issues critical to consumers, it should require airlines to make all of their ancillary fee information, such as checked bag fees, easily accessible through online and offline travel agencies via the major reservations systems that power those ticketing systems. This will give consumers more information and better choices, allowing them to comparison shop among airlines by both cost and services offered to find the best air travel options.
Mr. President, families trying to get home for the holidays during these extraordinarily difficult economic times are getting a very unwelcome present at the airport wrapped in hundreds of dollars in hidden fees. We strongly encourage you to affirm your commitment to airline consumers and unequivocally support a Transportation Department rule that will eliminate the increasing financial burden inflicted upon consumers each and every additional day they are surprised at the airport by hidden airline fees.
Paul Ruden, Senior Vice President Legal & Industry Affairs, American Society of Travel Agents, Inc.
Kevin Mitchell, Chairman, Business Travel Coalition
Charlie Leocha, Executive Director, Consumer Travel Alliance
About the American Society of Travel Agents
Since 1931 ASTA's (American Society of Travel Agents) mission has been to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. ASTA seeks a retail travel marketplace that is profitable, growing and a rewarding place to work, invest and do business. ASTA's global membership includes traditional travel agents, online agents, home-based agents and others dedicated to helping consumers make informed choices about travel options.
About the Business Travel Coalition
Founded in 1994, the mission of the Business Travel Coalition is to bring transparency to industry and government policies and practices so that customers can influence issues of strategic importance to their organizations.
About the Consumer Travel Alliance
The Consumer Travel Alliance (CTA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to provide consumers an articulate and reasoned voice in decisions that affect travel consumers across all of travel's spectrum. CTA's staff gathers facts, analyzes issues, and disseminates that information to the public, the travel industry, regulators and policy makers. CTA was founded by longtime travel journalists Charles Leocha, former MSNBC travel guru and author of Travel Rights, and Christopher Elliott, ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler and author of travel columns for Tribune Syndicates, MSNBC.com and the Washington Post syndicate. For more information, visit http://www.consumertravelalliance.org.
American Society of Travel Agents
Business Travel Coalition
Consumer Travel Alliance
SOURCE American Society of Travel Agents; Business Travel Coalition; Consumer Travel Alliance