Travel Group Receives Support For Government Airline Fee Rule
A group of travel executives said it gained the full support for a government rule that would require airlines to display extra fees prominently on their websites and in travel reservation systems.
The story about airlines and the introduction of hidden fees is not a new one but not until recently the American Society of Travel Agents, the Consumer Travel Alliance and the Business Travel Coalition, have delivered a petition to the Transportation Department with 50,000 signatures from consumers who want airlines to spell out fees more clearly.
Thursday was not only the day when this petition was sent but also the last day for public comment on proposed government rules to make airline fares and fees more transparent and to enhance passenger rights.
The new rules also require airlines the call for refunds of fees and reimbursement for expenses when bags are lost or not delivered on time, not to mention the complete disclosure of the baggage and other fees. When the baggage fees are increased, they should always be announced to the airline’s passengers before actually buying their tickets; this is a simple procedure of notifying a person whether he should pay or not to check up to two bags.
The effort for the support government rule changes support began two weeks ago; this action popularly being known among the travel industry as “Mad as Hell about Hidden Fees”.
According to the recent declarations, these hidden fees can increase the ticket price with about 26 percent when one bag is checked and by 54 percent when a passenger checks two bags and chooses a seat with extra legroom. On Monday, the Transportation Department declared that the U.S. airlines made $893 million on baggage fees in the second quarter, $618 million from charges for things like frequent-flier sales and transporting pets and $594 million from reservation change fees.
The group alliance against these fees wants all ticket outlets to have the same information on fares and fees for travelers, since more than half of all airline tickets are sold by third parties, such as travel agents and websites like Expedia or Orbitz.
The fact is that, as Paul Ruden of the American Society of Travel Agents said in a recent interview: “Airlines should be able make a fair profit and set fares and fees that allow them to do so, as long as travelers can see and compare all of those fees in advance”.11