The American Society of Travel Agency's vice president of government affairs, Eben Peck, addressed the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection, in a further attempt to ensure full transparency of ancillary fees. ASTA strongly suggested that the committee submit a recommendation to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood that "the upcoming passenger protection rulemaking include a requirement for full transparency and transactability of airline optional services and fees," reports TravelPulse.com
The committee is expected to provide its first report to LaHood in October. Peck commented that ASTA believes that ancillary fee disclosure and transactability is the most important consumer protection issue that the DOT is considering.
ASTA’s position is that the airline industry must provide customers with full transparency of all mandatory and optional charges. Furthermore, customers must have the ability to buy those optional services. This issue is important to travel agents because, although the agents hope to be a source of information for travelers, they can't disclose information about accurate prices if they don't know what the airlines are charging. According to ASTA, it is ludicrous to suggest that travel agents hunt down the ancillary fee information for each individual transaction on hundreds of airline websites, especially if a customer is waiting on the phone.
The article states, "The organization further notes that… failure to require the airlines to share their ancillary fee data will leave millions of consumers without the ability to use their preferred channel and have the benefit of full comparative price shopping."