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Airlines and OTAs may be forced to disclose fees

January 24, 2017 Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

In one of the final acts of the Obama Administration, airlines and online travel agents (OTAs) may soon be forced to display bag fees alongside airfares.

A new rule proposed by the US Department of Transportation would require that airlines and travel agents disclose bag fee information at all points of sale.

Previous regulations have sought similar disclosure but some airlines have obscured the information deep within their websites.

The new proposal is much bolder, requiring that both OTAs and airlines run the fee information upfront alongside the fare price, so consumers can see it when they go to book.http://www.rembrandtbkk.com/

Consumer advocates say that the airline practice of charging separately for all sort of ancillary services makes it difficult for consumers to compare fares charged by different carriers. Airlines like the practice because by running just their core fares, stripped of ancillaries, they can rank more highly on OTA websites arranged in order of price.

Outlining its new rule, the Department of Transportation states:

This SNPRM [Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking] proposes to require air carriers, foreign air carriers, and ticket agents to clearly disclose to consumers at all points of sale customer-specific fee information, or itinerary-specific information if a customer elects not to provide customer-specific information, for a first checked bag, a second checked bag, and one carry-on bag wherever fare and schedule information is provided to consumers. 

This SNPRM further proposes to require each covered carrier to provide useable, current, and accurate (but not transactable) baggage fee information to all ticket agents that receive and distribute the carrier’s fare and schedule information, including Global Distribution Systems and metasearch entities. On covered carrier and ticket agent websites, the SNPRM would require the baggage fee information to be disclosed at the first point in a search process where a fare is listed in connection with a specific flight itinerary, adjacent to the fare.

The SNPRM would permit carriers and ticket agents to allow customers to opt-out of receiving the baggage fee information when using their websites.

Some airlines argue that their booking processes are transparent enough already and they don’t need the new rule.

The regulation would need the support of America’s incoming Transportation Secretary under the new Trump administration. That is Elaine Chao, former Labor Secretary. An immigrant from Taiwan who arrived in the US at the age of eight, Chao is married to Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader.

The Los Angeles Times pointed out that under Obama, the Department of Transportation adopted many airline passenger protections, including a rule that fines airlines for delays that strand passengers on airport tarmacs for longer than three hours.

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. bruce weston says:

    well about time very few customers realise the huge cut an OTA demands which requires an inflated pricing structure to allow for this

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