Business Travel Coalition (BTC) launched an official White House “WE the PEOPLE” petition-campaign requesting that true air travel comparison shopping be restored for consumers through an early 2013 U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). The coalition has until December 25 to secure 25,000 signatures. If successful, then the White House is committed to formally reviewing this request and providing a public response. With your help, BTC can reach this goal; however, any major number of signatories will be an important addition to this campaign.
We invite you to sign the petition and to share the word with others.
Ancillary fees are on the rise. Consumer protections are needed to ensure travelers can both compare the full cost of air travel and buy essential services like baggage, boarding and seats wherever airlines sell their services.
Consumers deserve transparency into the total cost of air travel wherever airlines choose to sell their tickets. However, some airlines are shrouding their true total ticket prices, making informed comparison shopping difficult if not impossible. In addition to the negative impacts of hidden fees, without the ability to compare and buy essential services at the same time as buying the ticket, many travelers risk:
- Paying more because the price of the ancillary service increased between the time the traveler bought the base ticket and then went to the airline site to secure that service;
- Making an ill-informed purchase decision when buying a ticket for a specific flight based on information showing availability and pricing for specific seats or other essential services, but then finding the seat or service is no longer available, or the price has increased, when attempting to secure the service through the airline site;
- Being subjected to significant inconvenience and hassle by having to visit multiple websites or make multiple phone calls to buy both a ticket and essential ancillary services , and then facing that same level of hassle if there is a need to make a change to the reservation;
- Being burdened by the significant costs driven into the entire system by breaking apart the buying process: 1) travel agents face inefficiencies from the added time it takes to service their customers, ultimately resulting in higher service fees, and 2) consumers incur the costs of lost productivity from the cumbersome self-booking process.
The U.S. Department of Transportation must act to ensure that consumers are able to compare the full cost of essential air travel services and buy them wherever airlines sell their products. You’ll have a chance in early 2013 to respond directly to DOT’S notice of proposed rule-making. Taking this action now is an important step in getting White House visibility on this critical issue and ultimately getting true consumer protections in place.