BTC airs concerns over the DOT’s passenger protection rules

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By TESTCustomwebLP TESTCustomwebLP September 30, 2014 20:47

BTC airs concerns over the DOT’s passenger protection rules

The Business Travel Coalition (BTC) has filed comments on the US Department of Transportation (DOT) passenger protection Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), which concerns the transparency of ancillary revenues.

BTC has concluded that the rule on the transparency / transactability of ancillary fees, which is one of many proposals within the NPRM, is “at significant risk of being delayed deep into 2015, or even halted indefinitely”. The BTC’s concern is that the DOT is likely to receive an avalanche of comments, analyses and studies during this NPRM process that will take it considerable time to work through. BTC and consumer groups are encouraging DOT to move forward promptly with the ancillary fee rule and to take the time necessary to consider the newly raised complex and controversial possible rules on other topics.

“After waiting six years for ancillary fee information, travel industry participants want true comparison-shopping for consumers restored as soon as possible.”

The BTC maintains that consumers should be able to see, compare and buy basic ancillary services through all of the distribution channels that airlines have opted to use. “BTC thus favors the critically important DOT proposal that an airline be required to provide ancillary fee data to ticket agents who are authorized to sell travel services on behalf of an airline. However, the rule should require airlines to make all of the basic ancillary services that they offer transactable at the time of ticket purchase through the distribution channels airlines choose to use. Without transactability, prices for ancillary services would change and specific seats, for example, might no longer be available when a customer attempts to purchase them, undermining the principle of transparency. As a result, there is a strong potential for bait-and-switch pricing when travelers are offered low prices during the search process, then charged higher ones when they try to complete the transaction on an airline website.”

“We urge DOT to deal with the ancillary fee rule right away and not permit this, the most important part of the rulemaking, to be delayed by the long period of time likely to be required to analyze the great number of other complex and controversial proposals within the NPRM,” it adds.

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By TESTCustomwebLP TESTCustomwebLP September 30, 2014 20:47