Several U.S. senators asked for transparency of airline fees. // © 2010 Photos.com
The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), the Business Travel Coalition (BTC) and the Consumer Travel Alliance (CTA) have applauded a letter sent late last month by seven U.S. senators to Ray LaHood, the Secretary of Transportation. The letter pushed for transparency of all airline fees and charges associated with air travel before a ticket is purchased.
“The senators are to be commended for seeing through the hype and cutting to the heart of the issue,” said Paul Ruden, senior vice president of legal and industry affairs for ASTA, in a statement. “The travel agency community is extremely gratified to have their support.
In the letter, Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., George Lemieux, R-Fla., Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Mary Landrieu, D-La., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., and Mark Begich, D-Alaska, wrote: “In order for this level of disclosure of ancillary fees to occur, it is essential that traditional travel agents and online travel companies — which together account for the sales of more than half of all airline tickets purchased in the U.S. — have easy access to fee information. That means requiring timely and full disclosure by airlines of ancillary fees to travel agencies via the global distribution systems that agencies almost universally use as their source of ... information.”
Further action was taken when ASTA and the BTC presented LaHood with a letter on Sept. 22, which was signed by more than 300 international travel management companies, corporations and travel associations from around the globe, including Wal-Mart, Merck, Ingersoll Rand, Deltek, BASF, Goodrich, GlaxoSmithKline, Campbell Soup Company and McDonald’s. The letter, part of the “Mad As Hell About Hidden Fees” campaign, urged the U.S. Department of Transportation to require full disclosure of ancillary fees by airlines to all sales outlets in which they participate.