ASTA Fights ‘Transparent Airfares Act’
by Robin Amster

ASTA launched a grassroots campaign to fight passage of the Transparent Airfares Act of 2014, an airline-supported bill that ASTA terms “anti-consumer.” ASTA joins a growing chorus of opposition to the legislation.

The association is asking members to write their Congressional representatives to oppose the bill, H.R. 4156, which was reported out of committee in the House without debate on April 9 and could be acted on as early as next week.

ASTA said the bill would essentially reverse the Department of Transportation’s 2012 Full Fare Advertising Rule, a consumer protection law that requires airlines to advertise the full price consumers pay for an air ticket.

DOT rule
Under the DOT’s current rule, advertised airfares must display prominently the full and final price, including all taxes, fees and airline surcharges.

The rule allows taxes and fees to be listed separately in advertisements, as long as the total price is displayed most prominently. Airlines also can add anti-tax commentary in their advertising.

Proposed change
Airlines claim that the DOT rule prevents them from clearly disclosing the tax burden on air travel.

The proposed legislation would amend the DOT rule to allow airlines to advertise base airfares only and disclose charges such as taxes and fees, as well as the total price, separately, including in a popup or link.

The airline trade group Airlines for America favors its passage.

ASTA: No consumer harm
ASTA urged Congress to stay out of it. “The airlines challenged the rule in court and lost, then tried the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case. Congress should stay its hand here,” said ASTA president Zane Kerby.

“There is no evidence of consumer harm under the DOT rule, only benefits for the traveling public.”

More opposition
Several consumer groups including Consumer Action, the Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, the National Association of Consumer Advocates, and the National Consumers League also oppose the bill.

In a letter to the Senate urging it not to replicate the House bill, the groups said the proposed legislation would lead to “a classic bait and switch for consumers who believe they are purchasing a ticket at one price, only to find out at the last moment that the price is much higher.”

They said the bill would allow airlines to hide their own extra fees and charges until the last minute before a ticket is purchased. “This would be especially problematic on the Internet, where it  might require extra clicks to obtain full price information,” they said.

Earlier this week the New York Times said in an editorial that the “cynically named Transparent Airfares Act of 2014 can only hurt consumers.”

  0
  0
Comment:
You must be logged in to leave a comment Login | Register
Tip of the Day

Travel advisors should reach and assist travelers during the ‘micro-moments’ of the travel experience, reinforce their value-add to consumers, and refer them to digital tools when appropriate. As the online and offline travel worlds come together, everything has changed while nothing has changed.

Dave Pavelko
Partnerships director for Travel Google Inc.

Daily Top List

Best Travel Books Of All Time

1. On the Road - Jack Kerouac

2. As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning - Laurie Lee

3. Naples '44 - Norman Lewis

4. Coasting - Jonathan Raban

5. Travels with Charley: In Search of America - John Steinbeck


Source: The Independent

Top Stories
Luxury Agent Takes Flexible Approach To Fees
Luxury Agent Takes Flexible Approach To Fees

For Margi Arnold, owner of Denver-based Creative Travel Adventures, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to service fees.

Sabre Earnings, Bookings Boosted By Abacus Acquisition
Sabre Earnings, Bookings Boosted By Abacus Acquisition

Sabre Corp.’s total bookings increased 27.9%, to 134.9 million, in the first quarter.

Four Ways To De-Bunk Those Lingering Travel Myths
Four Ways To De-Bunk Those Lingering Travel Myths

TMR columnist Steve Gillick offers up four ways to de-bunk those lingering travel myths that not only affect your sales but also hurt the tourism sectors of the countries involved.

Will Google Replace Travel Agents?
Will Google Replace Travel Agents?

“I don’t believe for a minute that Google can replace travel agents,” says James Shillinglaw in his column this week. “But you need to figure out how to use Google’s digital tools to your benefit, and how to communicate the value you truly offer to your customers that Google can’t replace.”

Six Ways To Calm An Angry Customer
Six Ways To Calm An Angry Customer

It's easy to get flustered or upset when you're confronted with an irate customer (or co-worker, or boss, or spouse, or child) and make matters worse. But the right response can win you a friend for life.

From ‘Alerts’ To ‘Warnings,’ Travel Professionals Seek To Dispel Confusion Over State Department Cautions
From ‘Alerts’ To ‘Warnings,’ Travel Professionals Seek To Dispel Confusion Over State Department Cautions

With two terror attacks on popular European destinations in the past six months, travel sellers have been working overtime to explain the nuances of the notifications issued by the U.S. government and other countries on the risks of traveling.

News Briefs
Advertiser's Voice
Travel Market Report Spotlight: Celebrity Cocktails