The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) has expressed its concerns to Congress regarding several measures currently under discussion that could place an undue burden on travel agents and potentially injure consumers.
In a letter to key members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, ASTA asked that committee members delete Section 505 of bill H.R. 2997, which would overturn the Department of Transportation’s 2012 “full-fare advertising rule,” and instead allow airlines to bury taxes and other fees through website links and fine print.
Under a previously proposed rule, advertised airfares would need to prominently state “the full and final price to be paid by the consumer, including all government-imposed taxes and fees.” Repealing the DOT’s full-fare rule, ASTA said, “would undermine a key consumer protection principle ASTA holds dear – that consumers should know the full cost of air travel before purchasing a ticket.”
ASTA also is concerned that Congress will eliminate the formation of a new national airline competition commission, called for in a January 2016 letter from ASTA and other industry partners.
“Clearly, the air travel industry has seen major changes in the past few decades, and we think that it is entirely appropriate for Congress to take a hard look at these changes and the impact they’ve had on competition, customer service and other issues.”
ASTA also asked that the committee support an amendment in the works to ensure that any aviation taxes levied by municipalities or airport authorities be restricted to improving travel infrastructure.