September 2 - Media Alert


MEDIA ALERT

LEADING CONSUMER AND TRAVEL INDUSTRY GROUPS TO HOLD PRESS BRIEFING ON “MUST FIX” PARTS OF DOT PASSENGER PROTECTION RULE

Groups to Release National Survey on Consumer Experiences and Attitudes Regarding Ancillary Fees

WHAT 

Organizations whose members serve millions of consumers and business travelers will hold a joint press briefing to discuss critical weaknesses in the current U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding passenger protections. The groups also plan to announce the results of a national survey on consumer experiences and attitudes regarding ancillary fees like checked baggage and assigned seating.

CAPSULE

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has spent more than three years drafting a rule to help protect passengers from hidden and unexpected airline fees for things like baggage and seating that used to be part of the base ticket price.  After releasing the draft of the proposed rule earlier this summer, the docket for comments will close on September 22, 2014, but many consumer and business groups are deeply concerned about the current language in the rule. 

While the proposed rule includes some notable new consumer protections on ancillary fees, there are also significant gaps in those protections that could leave consumers at risk of continued unfair and deceptive practices by airlines in pricing, marketing and selling those fees.

In addition, the portion of the rulemaking that deals with the critical disclosure of ancillary fees has been put at risk of being delayed deep into 2015, as the draft rule includes many other controversial provisions that have not been well vetted and will require lengthy additional time for review. Several major consumer and travel industry organizations are joining to encourage DOT to move forward quickly on the ancillary fees issue, and take the time necessary to finalize the rest of the rule. 

By hiding the prices of their ancillary fees, airlines have deprived consumers of the ability to easily search, compare and buy the range of services they need for air travel. Transparent pricing for consumers needs to be restored as soon as possible.

WHO

- Charlie Leocha, Chairman, Travelers United (formerly Consumer Travel Alliance)

- Paul M. Ruden, Esq., SVP Legal & Industry Affairs, American Society of Travel Agents

- Kevin Mitchell, Founder, Business Travel Coalition

- Philip J. Minardi, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Travel Technology Association

- Andrew Weinstein, Executive Director, Open Allies For Airfare Transparency

WHEN

Thursday, September 4, 11:00am (EST) 

WHERE   

Call in #: 1(800) 920-7487

International Call in #: 4049201710

Participant Code: 3657856#

HOW

Please respond to this email if you are able to participate in the press briefing. We may send you additional information prior to the call.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Please find additional information on the NPRM at BTC (http://btc.travel) and Travel Tech (http://bit.ly/TTAonNPRM); including foundational documents, commentary, statements and analyses and press stories.

CONTACT

Kevin Mitchell

mitchell [at] businesstravelcoalition.com

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