The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) has joined the national conversation about airline fees, calling on the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to require transparency and consistency from all airlines that charge fees for baggage and other ancillary services.
The comments were submitted to DOT in response to its proposed rulemaking on increased consumer protections for air travelers. Introduced in May, the proposed rules would require that airlines disclose fees for "basic airline services" -- such as checked baggage and advanced seat assignments -- up front as part of advertised fares.
"The lack of consistency and transparency in the pricing and application of ancillary fees in all categories of travel, but especially for air travel, is a major challenge for business travel managers," GBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick said in a statement. "With better insight into how these fees work, travel managers can make more informed choices."
According to GBTA, which echoes the feelings of the traveling public, the consolidation of the airline industry has accelerated the practice of unbundling services that were traditionally part of an airline ticket, such as baggage fees, which rose from $464 million in 2007 to $3.35 billion in 2013. Only 21 percent of travel managers are tracking such fees, although they now account for more than 8 percent of total travel spend.
Concluded McCormick, "Business travelers and their companies must be presented with an accurate and trackable view of fares and fees."