The U.S. Business Travel Coalition (BTC) today applauded a decision taken by the U.S. Supreme Court to refuse to deliberate the consumer protection authority of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) that promulgated a rule requiring airlines to advertise the full cost of tickets, including government taxes and fees. Todays ruling is the last airline-imposed barrier to the DOT moving forward with a much-needed rulemaking that will hopefully restore true comparison-shopping of the all-in price (base fares, ancillary fees and taxes) of airline travel. Airlines have refused for five years to provide travel agencies with fee information for services such as for checked bags greatly frustrating consumers ability to comparison shop.
Whether it is fighting DOT rule makings, contesting DOTs authority to police unfair and deceptive marketing practices at the Supreme Court or boldly proposing a new joint airline scheme to eliminate fare transparency and comparison shopping on a worldwide basis, there is a full-throated airline assault on price transparency and the consumer, stated BTC Chairman Kevin Mitchell. Today, Allegiant, Southwest Airlines and Spirit Airlines represent Exhibit A in this offensive against consumer protections in an industry, unique, because its has so few of them. DOT is the consumers last bastion of defense against anti consumer airline policies and behaviors, added Mitchell.