ASTA Calls on DOT to Enhance Transparency on Airline Ancillary Fees

ASTA Calls on DOT to Enhance Transparency on Airline Ancillary Fees

The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) is calling on the Department of Transportation (DOT) to ensure that there is transparency when it comes to airline ancillary fees.

ASTA submitted written comments to a proposal from the DOT outlining rules that require U.S. air carriers, foreign air carriers and ticket agents to clearly disclose passenger-specific or itinerary-specific baggage fees, change fees and cancellation fees to consumers.


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In its comments on the proposal, ASTA expressed support for parts of the proposal and defined changes to other parts so that the new rules do not burden travel advisors and their clients.

“ASTA has long believed that consumers deserve full transparency with respect to airfares and optional ancillary service fees, as well as the ability to buy those services – transactability – regardless of the channel in which they elect to book their travel. As such, we view the DOT’s proposal as a step in the right direction in that it requires airlines to provide travel agencies with ancillary fee information that is ‘usable, accurate and accessible in real-time’ and requires transactability for some ancillary services, namely those that enable family seating,” said Eben Peck, ASTA’s Executive Vice President of Advocacy, in a statement.

While there is overall support, Peck clarified ASTA’s position on some of the finer points.

“While supportive of the overall spirit and several particular provisions of the proposed rule, ASTA has concerns about several of its finer details, foremost among them being the requirement that travel advisors disclose fees for multiple services in each and every ‘offline’ transaction – even to repeat customers and frequent fliers – and its expected impact on agency operations. We are also concerned about the exclusion of the GDSs – the primary technology advisors use to fulfill client requests – from the universe of ticket agents with whom the airlines are required to share ancillary fee data.”

Travel advisors can read ASTA’s comments on the proposal here.

Previously, Peck testified about ancillary fees before the Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee in the U.S. Department of Transportation in regards to this proposal, making suggestions to the committee on ways to avoid overburdening travel advisors with additional work in order to comply with rules changes.

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