Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) November 30, 2012
TravelStore has joined forces with a broad coalition of airline consumers, consumer groups, travel management companies, travel agencies, corporate travel departments and travel industry associations in a White House-sponsored “WE the PEOPLE” petition. We are requesting that true air travel comparison-shopping be restored for consumers through an early 2013 U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).
Since 2008, most major U.S. airlines have been charging for so-called ancillary services, such as for accessing premium seating, and have been hiding associated fees by withholding fee information from travel agencies. As such, agents and travelers cannot efficiently compare “all-in” prices (base fares and fees) of air travel alternatives and must visit numerous airline websites to search for fees and pay separately for the services. These hidden fees represent a confusing and deceptive marketing practice that is costing all air travel consumers dearly.
In its petition to the White House the coalition points out that, despite demands from consumers and the travel industry for fee information, airlines have been able to withhold this information for 5 years, which is vivid evidence of a failing market. The coalition also noted that when Congress deregulated this market, consumer protections were consolidated at DOT leaving travelers with no legal recourse under state consumer-protection laws.
“DOT must require airlines to provide fee information to sales channels where they offer base fares so consumers can see, compare and buy the complete air travel product,” stated Wido Schaefer, CEO, TravelStore.
The coalition has until December 25 to secure 25,000 signatures. If successful, then the White House commits to formally reviewing this request and providing a public response. The petition can be reviewed and signed at http://wh.gov/IXhH. More information is available at http://www.businesstravelcoalition.com/whitehouse.html.
Employee-owned TravelStore is a member of the prestigious Signature Travel Network. Established in 1975 by Wido Schaefer, TravelStore has grown into one of the nation’s top travel agencies, specializing in luxury travel and corporate travel management. TravelStore, with multiple offices throughout the state of California, was recently awarded Los Angeles Times’ 2012 Readers’ Choice Award for best travel service, and also is a four-time recipient of the Best Places to Work Award from Los Angeles Business Journal.