September 22, 2010

The Honorable Ray LaHood
Secretary
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 2059

Dear Secretary LaHood

We the undersigned corporate travel managers and travel management company executives urge you through your currently open Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) to require airlines to make add-on fee data easily accessible not only on their websites, but also to the travel agency channel - through any global distribution system - in which an airline has agreed to participate. We note that a recent U.S. General Accountability Office report to Congress concluded that airlines are not likely to disclose these fees unless compelled to do so.

Without these data we cannot effectively manage our travel programs. It is virtually impossible to budget and control our air travel spend; exceedingly difficult to effectively verify travel policy compliance; problematic to audit travelers’ purchases; and challenging to negotiate contracts with airlines without full visibility into air spend. What’s more, our travelers are often surprised to find hidden fees – often adding 30% or more to the price of a ticket – upon arrival at the airport.

Mr. Secretary, the corporate travel community fully supports the Department’s direction with its NPRM. The results of a recent Business Travel Coalition survey reveal a sea change in thinking about government oversight in commercial air transportation:


- 100% of corporate travel managers indicated that unbundling and extra fees have caused serious problems for their managed travel programs.

- 86% believe that airlines, absent government rules, will not make fair, adequate and readily accessible disclosure of their add-on fees and charges so that travel managers and their travel management companies can do comparison shopping of the all-in prices for air travel across carriers.

- 95% support the proposal that the U.S. DOT require airlines to make add-on data available and easily accessible to the travel agency channel through any global distribution system in which that airline has agreed to participate.


Our managed travel programs help comprise the fifty percent or more of air travelers who do not purchase tickets on airlines’ websites, but rather through online travel agencies and travel management companies. This is why it is imperative that airlines be required to provide these add-on fee data to our travel management companies. Indeed, the scores of billions of dollars in annual corporate air travel spend largely underwrites the national air transportation system.

We appreciate your untiring leadership on behalf of the airline industry consumer, including the business traveler and the companies that fund business travel activities.

Sincerely,

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Merck KGaA
GlaxoSmithKline
McDonald's Corp
Campbell Soup Company
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
National Semiconductor
Ingersoll Rand
SAP AG
EMC
BASF Corporation
Goodrich Corporation
Eaton Corporation
Chubb & Son
Sapient
DHL
Deltek, Inc.
Discovery Communications
HealthCare California
Gartner
Agility Defense and Government Services
The MITRE Corporation
Autodesk
Cadence Design Systems, Inc.
Schlumberger
Dollar Tree
Cessna Aircraft Company
Verband Deutsches Reisemanagement e.V. (VDR)
SAS Autosystemtechnik Verwaltungs GmbH
Advantage Focus Partnership
American Quarter Horse Association
American Society of Travel Agents
Association for Airline Passenger Rights
Association of Blind Citizens
Business Travel Coalition
Consumer Travel Alliance
David & Lucile Packard Foundation
Finnish Business Travel Association
Medical Whistleblower
National Association of Electrical Engineers
National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance
Scottish Passenger Agents Association
VDR - The German Business Travel Association
University of Notre Dame
Iowa State University
The Ohio State University Aviation Department
The University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin
UVA Law Library
Town of Burrillville
Loews Hotels
Marriott
Farmont Hotels
Sun Chemical Corporation
FreemanWhite
Lumbermens Merchandising Corporation
Makino, Inc.
Burlington Coat Factory
SEI Investments Company
Hornbeck Offshore
Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc.
Sunbelt Rentals
Tenet Healthcare
Oki Data Americas, Inc.
PAREXEL International
CONVERTEAM UK LTD
TMD Friction Services GmbH
TNT
Schaeffler Group
Tognum AG / MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH
Academy Sports + Outdoors
Crowley Maritime Corporation
Sanmina-SCI
Novell, Inc.
Teradata Corporation
CMM Advisors
Goss International
Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.
Technicolor, USA, Inc.
Eclipse Global Transportation
Provisur Technologies, Inc.
Cannon Design
Gesellschaft für Entwicklung, Beschaffung und Betrieb mbH
Villa Roquette
TDR
P&V Enterprises
Purcell Systems, Inc.
PPD
Nealsan Corp
Grant Thornton
Owings Enterprises, Inc.
Lighthouse Consulting
Dental Specialties of America
HG Worldwide
Keane Consulting, Inc.
Quest Software
Schneider Electric
RW & Associates, Inc.

ASTA PREMIUM MEMBER SIGNATORIES

ABC Corporate Services, Inc.
All Seasons Travel / American Express
All-Travel
Blue Ribbon Business Travel International
Bursch Travel
Casto Travel
CI Travel
Colwick Travel
CTS Corporate Travel Solutions
Fox World Travel, Inc.
Global Custom Tours
Global Travel
Hess Travel
Hickory Travel Systems
Mann Travels
MAST Vacation Partners
Maupin Travel
Menno Travel Service, Inc.
Nexion
Omega World Travel
Plaza Tours/ Viajes Plaza
Radius Travel
San Diego Travel Group, Inc.
Travel Experts
Travel Leaders
Travel Leaders / MSP Travel Group
Travel Management Partners
Travel-On, Ltd.
Travel Planners International, Inc.
TravelStore, Inc.
UNIGLOBE Travel Partners
Wings Travel Group
Worldview Travel

ADDITIONAL AGENCY SIGNATORIES

A Plus Travel Corp.
A Quick Trip Inc.
A&P Cruises and Tours
A1 Travel
Absolute Travel Solutions
Accent Travel Int'l
Addies You and I Travel
Advanced Incentive Travel
Advanced Travel Partners (UK) Ltd
Advent Travel/ Travel Leaders
Age of Travel
Alexander Travel
All Aboard Travel, Inc.
All Points Travel
Anthony Travel, Inc.
Applause Travel Inc.
At Your Service Travel, Inc.
Atlantic-Pacific Travel - Travel Leaders
Atlas Travel of Decatur, IL
Austin Travel Corp.
Away We Go Travel, Inc.
B C Cruises and Tours
Bartelt Travel Consultants
Beggy, Inc. dba Travel Leaders
Benefits and Travel
Berger Travel Agency, Inc.
Berkeley's Northside Travel
Blue BTI Travel
Burkhalter Travel Agency, Inc.
BYU-Idaho Travel Office
Capitol Travel Service, Inc.
Carefree Travel & Cruises
Century Travel Service, Inc.
Christopherson Business Travel
Classic Holiday Travel
Classic Travel
Classic Travel and Tours
Club Voyages Dumoulin
Conference & Travel
Corporate Travel Management, Inc.
Cresta World Travel
Custom Travel
CWT
DC Global Meetings and Events
Deramus Travel, Inc.
Destinations Unlimited, inc/Travel Leaders
Duluth Travel
Dunn's Destinations Travel
Eagle Travel Services, Inc.
Edina Travel Leaders
El Sol Travel, Inc.
Empress Travel
Everyone's Travel Services, Inc.
Exceptional Travel Service
FAE Travel
Fair Winds Travel Agency, Inc.
Fairview Travel Service, Inc.
Fantastic Travel, Inc.
Far Horizons Travel
First National Travel
Flight Planners Travel, Inc.
Free Spirit Travel LLC
French's Worldwide Travel
Friendship Travel
Gala Travel
GalaxSea Cruises & Tours
Gemini Travel Agency, Inc.
Global Connections Travel Service, Inc.
Global Travel Ltd
Grande Voyages
Gulliver's Travel
Hamilton, Miller, Hudson and Fayne Travel Mgt Corp
Hidden Treasure Tours
International Tours
International Tours & Cruises
International Tours of Nacogdoches
Jade Travel
Journeys Unlimited Inc.
Julie's Travel Desk LLC
Kaleva Travel Ltd
Kaye Britton Travel
Kilauea Travel Group, Inc.
Liberty Global Europe
Lindberg Travel
Ludlow Travel Service, Inc. d/b/a Travel Leaders
MAD Travel
Magic Carpet Travel
MERRITT TRAVEL, INC.
MMC Travel
Mokihana Travel Service LLC
Nelson Travel Consultants, Inc.
Nichols Travel
Outland Travel, Inc.
Owings Enterprises, Inc.
Pace/Travel Leaders
Pausanias, Inc. dba CW Journeys
Preferred Travel & Cruise Inc.
Premiere Travel
Prime Time Travel, Inc.
Pyramid World Travel, Inc.
Quorn Business Travel
Rawhide Travel and Tours, Incorporated of Arizona
Results Travel
Richcreek Vacation Center
Shasta Travel Service, Inc.
Shelby Travel Agency
Sisters Three Travel Co.
Sojourn Travel Service, Inc.
Spears Travel
Sportscorp Travel
Springall Travel, Inc.
Sunbdancer Travel
Sunflower Travel
Sunnyland Tours
Sunset Travel Agency
Tantastic Travel, Inc.
Taylor Made Travel Company, Inc.
Teel's Travel Planners, Inc.
Tempo Travel
The Horner Corp dba Travel Leaders
The Joy of Travel
The Travel Company Edinburgh
The Travel Exchange
The Travel Experience, Inc.
The Travel Gallery
TLG Travel
Travel Advisors International
Travel by Nelson Ltd.
Travel Center Inc.
Travel Escapes, Inc.
Travel Incorporated- Travel Management Company
Travel Landing USA
Travel Leaders - Discovery World
Travel Leaders / Marz Travel
Travel Leaders / Spears Travel
Travel Leaders / Travel Advisors International
Travel Leaders Albertville
Travel Leaders Fairfax Virginia
Travel Leaders Indy
Travel Leaders of Fargo
Travel Leaders of Wausau
Travel Leaders Spokane
Travel Leaders/Ambassador Travel
Travel Leaders/Apollo Bock
Travel Leaders/Bentley Hedges Travel
Travel Leaders/Business Travel Inc.
Travel Leaders/Carousel Travel Inc.
Travel Leaders/Happy Holidays Travel
Travel Leaders/International Sun Travel Agency
Travel Leaders/Jan's Travel and Cruise
Travel Leaders/Journeys Travel Group
Travel Leaders/Katy Van Travel, Inc.
Travel Leaders/Kiernan Travel
Travel Leaders/Marz Travel
Travel Leaders/Premier Travel, Inc.
Travel Leaders/Signature Travel Boutique
Travel Leaders/Spears Travel
Travel Leaders/Travel Advisors International
Travel Leaders/Tripco Travel Service
Travel Leaders/World Travel Agency
Travel Plus, Inc.
Travel Resources
Travel Shoppe
Travel Time Travel Agency, Inc.
Travel Unlimited
Travelcade, Inc.
Travelquarters, Inc.
Traveltime of London, Inc.
Travelworks
Tubby Lohmer's Travel Leaders
Turon Travel, Inc.
Ul-Tra Business Travel, Inc.
Uniglobe Normark Travel, Inc.
Unique Travel Service
Valleyhill Travel
Wilshire Travel
Windows of the World Travel Ltd
World Travel Inc.
World Travel Mates