DOT

A previous post noted that the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee had introduced the Transparent Airfares Act of 2014. This is a reprint of our earlier story about this misguided bill designed to make airfares more confusing. The committee just announced yesterday afternoon that it would bring this bill to “mark-up” tomorrow, […]

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Yesterday, a group of Representatives introduced the Transparent Airfares Act of 2014. This bill is a major step backwards for consumers and the sponsors of this bill, from both sides of the aisle, have simply not thought through what they are proposing. And, the airline lobbyists, intent on finding ways to make airline pricing more obscure, are flogging a dead horse that has been killed at least three times over the past three years.

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Today is the final filing day for those in opposition to the American Airlines/US Airways (AA/US) merger. The merger rules and regulations allow objectors to the settlement to file comments that must be addressed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) prior to the final approval of the merger. A collection of consumer groups, including the Consumer Travel Alliance, will be making such filings today.

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Today two organizations that most consumers barely know, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Open Allies for Airfare Transparency, are sitting down in Miami to discuss the future of travel distribution. In consumer-speak, they are discussing setting new technical standards that will ultimately determine how travelers will be able to purchase airline tickets, extra fees, hotels, rental cars, cruises and packaged tours.

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The Department of Transportation (DOT) after investigating a consumers formal complaint that American Airlines (AA) was lying to consumers by stating that fuel surcharges were “taxes.” After admitting that their representatives has lied, and promising to retrain their agents, AA was fined $60,000. It appear they are still misrepresenting as before.

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Next Monday, 16 December 2013, the ACACP will meet to consider privacy protection actions to recommend to the Secretary of Transportation. Pursuant to the law which mandated the establishment of the ACACP, the Secretary must report to Congress on what the ACACP has recommended, and what, if any, action the Secretary has taken on those recommendations. So unlike many advisory bodies, the ACACP can set its own agenda and can not be completely ignored.

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Ask travelers what the federal government did for them this year, and you’ll probably get a shrug, at best — or a rant about sequestration, national park closings and the Transportation Security Administration, at worst.

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For the past 880 days consumers have been participating in a rulemaking to require airlines to disclose ancillary fees in channels where they sell their base fares so that complete air transportation prices can be easily compared across airlines. After all this time, the highly anticipated rulemaking from the U.S. DOT still has not been published. Millions of consumers are being harmed as the government procrastinates.

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Airlines are not providing coach passengers the available seating inventory when they book flights. Why? Some say to drive passengers to purchase a more expensive seat. Others say it is to hold seats back for elite frequent fliers. In any case, it is deceptive and sleazy.

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The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the European Union (EU) don’t seem to have ever seen an airline deal that they don’t like. Consumers are being consulted and there are comments that can be submitted to DOT, but the airlines are getting what they want. Consumers are getting less competition and ultimately higher prices.

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