Air Travel Fairness Coalition Pushing Airlines / DOT for Fare Transparency And to Disclose Hidden Fees Up Front in Booking Process

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During One-on-One with ExpertFlyer.com, Executive Director Kurt Ebenhoch Explains How Advocacy Group is Working to Fix Problem and How Consumers Can Have Voices Heard

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Kurt Ebenhoch, Executive Director, Air Travel Fairness Coalition

Now that the top four airline carriers represent more than 80% of the market, we are beginning to see oligopolistic practices we need to monitor, and where necessary, the DOT needs to keep in check

In the world of business and politics, the term ‘transparency’ has been bantered about as a buzz word to reflect plans for honesty and openness. The question remains, “How transparent should airlines be with their business practices to satisfy the ‘fairness factor’ among consumers?” Kurt Ebenhoch, executive director at Air Travel Fairness (ATF), an advocacy group that represents travel search companies and 70,000 travelers, believes the airline industry has not gone far enough when it comes to fare and fee transparency. During his One-on-One interview with ExpertFlyer, Mr. Ebenhoch explains steps the organization is taking to apply pressure on the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the airline industry to disclose all fare and schedule options, as well as hidden fares and fees to travel search engines for open consumer access.

“In a free market economy, our point of view is that airlines have the right to charge whatever fare they’d like,” Mr. Ebenhoch explains. “Airlines are making record profits and we don’t begrudge that. In fact, we’re happy they are successful, but let’s get full, complete fare and fee information out in the open so everybody knows what they’re getting into and consumers can make an informed choice.”

While the DOT recently elected not to pursue regulations that would result in greater airline fee and fare transparency, ATF is currently working toward getting a Request for Information on airline ticket sales practices reinstated by the DOT. The process allows the DOT to gather information from a variety of travel related sources and ultimately make an informed decision about next steps for implementing rules or mandates. It would also make available this information to the public. As such, the airline industry is also fighting this measure of transparency.

“As a travel search engine, ExpertFlyer.com is also affected by the lack of transparency among airlines,” says Chris Lopinto, president and co-founder of ExpertFlyer.com. “While we do not sell tickets, we do provide extensive airline travel information to our customers and any lack of transparency impedes our ability to help our customers make the most complete and fully-informed purchase decisions possible.”

“Now that the top four airline carriers represent more than 80% of the market, we are beginning to see oligopolistic practices we need to monitor, and where necessary, the DOT needs to keep in check,” Mr. Ebenhoch added. “We will continue to apply pressure to the DOT and airline industry, advocate for open travel search sites and fight for travelers everywhere.”

To learn more about Air Travel Fairness and how to get involved, watch the video interview with Kurt Ebenhoch at ExpertFlyer’s blog.

About Air Travel Fairness
Air Travel Fairness (ATF) is an advocacy group that represents travel search companies and has support from leading consumer and trade advocacy organizations including Travelers United, BTC (Business Travelers Coalition) and TravelTech. More importantly, ATF represents more than 70,000 consumers who have signed a petition asking for the Department of Transportation to support airfare pricing transparency.

About ExpertFlyer.com
Each month, ExpertFlyer's One-on-One blog goes face-to-face with the travel industry's leading decision makers to discuss and address topics relevant to many of today's business and frequent travelers.

ExpertFlyer.com was conceived and created by an eclectic team consisting of a veteran elite tier frequent flyer, an airline captain and corporate travel manager, and information technology professionals to deliver a 24/7 real time powerful air travel information service. The company provides its subscribers and corporate travel managers alike with a complete, concise and efficient way to access the ever-changing details of worldwide air travel information. For more information, please visit expertflyer.com.

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