American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) president and CEO Zane Kerby has issued the following statement in response to the US House of Representatives’ recent passage of the so-called Transparent Airfares Act of 2014.
“ASTA is disappointed by House passage of this anti-consumer legislation that will make airfares less transparent, not more. But we are undeterred in our resolve to resist H.R. 4156, and with the support of our members, turn now to the Senate to make our case and prevent this bill from going further.
“The bill seeks to overturn the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) full-fare advertising rule, put in place to make the total cost of a ticket more transparent by requiring airlines to prominently state the full and final price to be paid by the consumer. Here’s what the airlines don’t want consumers and lawmakers to understand – DOT already made this process transparent by allowing the airlines to list all the government fees and taxes in their advertising, as long as the full and final price is most prominently displayed.
“The airlines challenged the rule in the Court of Appeals and lost, then tried the United States Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case. In upholding the rule, the Appeals Court said, ‘Based on common sense and over three decades of experience and complaints, DOT concluded that it was deceitful and misleading when the most prominent price listed by an airline is anything other than the total, final price of air travel.’
“On behalf of the travelling public, ASTA will now redouble efforts in the Senate to fight this deceptive legislation through continued mobilization of our members, nearly 700 of whom have already written or called their legislators in opposition, and by working with our allies in this fight, including Open Allies for Airfare Transparency, the Travel Technology Association, the Business Travel Coalition and consumer groups such as Travelers United. Consumers should be given nothing less than the right to see and compare the full cost of a fare before they are deep into the ticketing process.”