white house petition travel airline ancillaries

A US e-petition questions airlines’ ancillary sales practices, and UK authorities warn travel sites about fare display rules

Yesterday, Nov. 26, the American Business Travel Coalition launched an online petition requesting that the US Transportation Department (DOT) mandate that all airlines provide all of their optional services data to global distribution systems (GDSs).

The DOT is expected to draft revised rules on this matter in early 2013, when the ideas will be be sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget for its guidance.

If the petition is successful, then the White House is committed to formally reviewing this request and providing a public response. We need your support, and we have assembled the advocacy tools to make it as easy as possible for you to lead on behalf of your customers and travelers.

The Coalition was previously one of the forces behind the Open Allies for Airfare Transparency, an organization with a similar aims.

The Coalition is taking advantage of an electronic petition process initiated by the Obama administration last year. Groups can create an online petition at the White House’s website, and if they get 25,000 signatures, the White House promises to give a response — though an acknowledgment of the petition doesn’t require government action.

The coalition has until December 25 to secure 25,000 signatures. After one day, the petition only had 272 names.

white house petition travel airline ancillaries

Meanwhile in the UK

In similar news, a report by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA),  the UK’s specialist aviation regulator, and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), the UK’s consumer and competition authority, issued on Nov. 19 proposed “guidance” that tells the travel sector how to comply with new British regulations regarding the display of ticket prices and all fees and ancillary charges.

The guidance aims to help travel agencies and comparison-shopping websites to see examples of practices that could break the law. Regulations that went into effect this year require websites:

  • to display prices clearly and transparently up front;
  • to make clear which airline the customer is booking with;
  • to make sure optional extras are displayed on an opt-in basis rather than pre-selected;
  • to provide information in a timely and accurate fashion;
  • and that terms and conditions must be fair and clear.

As part of a 10-week consultation process, the CAA and OFT will be arranging a series of roundtable meetings with industry to take their views on both versions of the guidance. The final version will then be published in early 2013.

Strict enforcement comes after that.

View the short version of the draft guidance, and the full document.

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Sean O'Neill

About the Writer :: Sean O'Neill

Sean O’Neill had roles as a reporter and editor-in-chief at Tnooz between July 2012 and January 2017.



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