March 15 - Airline Consumers Have a Seat At The Table in the Senate Commerce Committee


BTC Applauds Senators’ Leadership on FAA Bill; Launches

The Business Travel Coalition (BTC) today applauded U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD) and Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-FL) for their vision in introducing a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill with a strong airline price-transparency provision and commended Senators Blumenthal (D-CT), Klobuchar (D-MN), Markey (D-MA) and Schumer (D-NY) for their leadership in filing sorely needed pro-consumer amendments regarding price gouging, seat squeezing and airlines deceiving where carriers are not held sufficiently accountable for unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition, all of which have become of heightened concern in a radically consolidated industry.  

BTC strongly endorses a filed amendment that would establish a national commission that, in part, would be tasked with examining the impediments to access by foreign air carriers to routes to and from the United States. As important, another amendment would have the U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO) conduct a study of airline alliances. GAO would look at, among many alliance-related issues, whether there are alternatives to antitrust immunity that could be conferred that would also produce public benefits. Particularly essential is an amendment to restore the right of consumers and State Attorneys General to sue airlines for unfair and deceptive practices.

“A private right of action - the right of consumers and State Attorneys General to sue airlines- needs to be reinstated to reflect the intent of Congress when it passed the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978. State Attorneys General would then be able to protect their citizens as they do in every other consumer-facing industry for practices such as bait and switch, misrepresentation, unethical or unscrupulous conduct, unwarranted health and safety risks and price gouging,” stated BTC founder Kevin Mitchell. “This would strengthen the enforcement hand of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and provide sorely needed discipline in a consolidated industry to prevent airlines from trampling upon the rights of consumers,” added Mitchell.

In the past ten years the U.S. has gone from eleven airlines controlling some eighty percent of domestic seat capacity to just four airlines today. This profound consolidation of the industry has benefited airlines and their shareholders tremendously enabling record-level, sustainable profits. A financially viable national air transportation system is important to the social and economic goals of the country. However, competitive concentration has led to airline policies and practices that seek to reduce price transparency, undermine the U.S. DOT’s consumer protection authority and block foreign carrier new entry through commercial protectionism. Only strong and determined Congressional leadership will solve the many problems consumers now face in an industry indifferent to their rights and needs.

BTC today is launching as a resource for Congress, the travel industry and reporters as the FAA reauthorization process plays out the coming months.


3-14-16 Senate Commerce Committee Markup Of FAA Bill On Wednesday A Test For Consumer Protections (

3-9-16 Structural Reforms Are Necessary To Address Unfair And Deceptive Practices Exacerbated By Radical Industry Consolidation (

3-9-16 The Big Three U.S. Airlines Have A Lot To Answer For (

3-8-16 Are Airlines Overtaxed? (

3-7-16 U.S. Congress Determined To Intervene On The Airline Seat-Squeeze Problem (

2-28-16 Senate Has Unique Opportunity To Champion Consumers’ Interests (

2-25-16 A Unified Theory Of Airline Behavior (

2-22-16 Fuel surcharging as now practiced constitutes an unfair and deceptive act or practice and an unfair method of competition in violation of 49 U.S.C. §41712 (

2-22-16 BTC Letter To U.S. DOT Regarding Fuel Surcharges (

2-18-16 Consumer Groups’ Letter To Sen. Commerce Committee Re Curbelo Amendment (

2-10-16 Transparent Airfares Act of 2014 Resurrected By U.S. Representative Curbelo At The Behest Of Major Airlines (

2-8-16 2 Ways Aviation Policy Can Act As A Prism For Voter Discontent In NH (


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