ATA gives muted response to US Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on consumer protection

Dino D'Amore
By Dino D'Amore September 28, 2010 10:00

ATA gives muted response to US Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on consumer protection

The Air Transport Association (ATA) filed comments with the US Department of Transport (DOT) which stated that “there is much [in the proposed rule] that ATA and its members support,” particularly regarding the transparency of information provided to customers, “the organization does voice a number of major objections.” These objections to proposed measures are areas the ATA deems ” beyond [DOT’s] authority,” including the proposal to “require airlines to incorporate customer service plans and contingency plans into contracts of carriage.” ATA said such a rule “would limit carriers’ ability to compete in an open market” and open airlines up to lawsuits since the DOT’s proposal would “create a private cause of action under contract law for violating a provision in a contingency plan.”

ATA added that its member airlines “strongly object to a new customer service plan proposal that would require a carrier to hold a reservation ‘at the quoted fare’ for 24 hours after a reservation is made ‘without payment or cancelled without penalty’. Adopting this proposal would allow consumers to hold an unlimited number of reservations at once…eliminating the carrier’s ability to sell these seats to another willing buyer…The Department has not identified a market failure or unfair or deceptive practice (or the potential for one) that merits this extraordinary and market-interfering proposal.”

The Association is also challenging DOT’s proposal that “any advertising or solicitation by air carriers or agents” has to show “one ticket price that includes all mandatory government taxes and fees.” This, the ATA say, is unfair against a backdrop of “several industries” regularly advertising pricing without including all taxes, including hotels, car sellers and utilities.

Dino D'Amore
By Dino D'Amore September 28, 2010 10:00
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