We, the 50,000 undersigned travelers and travel industry stakeholders, are deeply concerned about the problem of hidden airline fees, and we strongly support your efforts to require airlines to make their fees fully and easily accessible to both consumers and intermediaries in the travel industry, so travelers can compare prices and know in advance how much their trips will cost.
Therefore, we urge you to use your ongoing Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) process to require airlines to make all of their ancillary fee information easily accessible not only on their own websites but also through online and offline travel agencies via the major reservations systems that power those ticketing systems. This will give consumers more information and better choices, allowing them to comparison shop among airlines by both cost and services offered to find the best air travel options.
As you know, more than 50% of air travelers do not purchase their tickets through the airlines directly, but instead use online or brick-and-mortar travel agencies. Thus, a requirement that airlines only post the fees to their own websites will leave more than half of the traveling public without access to that information. Worse, the airlines have made the fee information on their own sites difficult to find and impossible to compare with other airlines. Even the few fees shown during the ticketing process on their own sites are usually presented late in the process, after the flier has already committed to the purchase.
Requiring the airlines to make all of their fees electronically available through all booking channels will unleash the creativity of the online medium and the full support of traditional travel agents to help travelers search, find and compare air travel costs and services across the full spectrum of airlines.
Leisure and business travelers alike are surprised to find hidden fees that can sometimes double the cost of an airfare upon arrival at the airport or upon completion of their travel purchase. This situation is ruining vacations and undermining business travel budgeting. We appreciate your ongoing leadership on behalf of the airline industry consumer and ask that you protect all air travel consumers from hidden fee abuse.