The American Society of
Travel Agents and Sabre each added their voices of support for the U.S.
Department of Transportation's stated plan to further regulate disclosure of
airlines' optional services and associated fees. In issuing a final rule today on various elements of airline customer service, DOT indicated that later this
year it would propose another rule requiring disclosure of such fees "at
all points of sale."
ASTA praised DOT's set
of overall rules, but noted "two important exceptions," including the
delay on the issue of fee disclosure in such channels as global distribution
systems. "The department did not adopt rules that require
the airlines to share optional fee information in a transactable form with
travel agents," according to
the group. "ASTA's comments, and those of numerous other participants,
made clear that the issue of retailer access to optional fee information was
the most impactful matter at stake in the proceeding. ASTA will continue to
work with the department to assure that prompt action follows to bring this
issue to closure."
According to president
Chris Russo, ASTA also was "disappointed" by DOT's decision not to
require airlines to include passenger service commitments in contracts of
Meanwhile, Sabre also
welcomed DOT's set of new rules, calling them "a significant first step in
providing consumers with greater transparency regarding full airline
fares." The company's statement added that "we look forward to
participating in the process of identifying additional consumer protections
that promote competition and empower travelers to make more informed decisions
when shopping for and purchasing air travel."