Regulations

Business Travel Group Insists On Full Disclosure Of Airline Fees

Posted on October 1, 2014

GBTA executive director Michael McCormick (R) interviewed United Airlines CEO Jeffrey Smisek at the 2011 and 2014 GBTA Conventions.
GBTA executive director Michael McCormick (R) interviewed United Airlines CEO Jeffrey Smisek at the 2011 and 2014 GBTA Conventions.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) called on the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on Sept. 30 to move quickly to require all airlines to increase their transparency and disclose all baggage and other ancillary fees.

According to comments filed by GTBA as part of the DOT’s Proposed Rulemaking on ancillary fees, travelers and booking agents, as well as corporate travel managers and buyers, must be able to understand the total cost of travel before purchasing an airline ticket.

“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,” said GBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick.  

GBTA, the voice of the global business travel industry, noted that with consolidation of the airline industry, airlines have accelerated the practice of unbundling services that were traditionally part of an airline ticket, such as baggage fees. These ancillary fees represent a growing source of revenue: baggage fees rose from $464 million in 2007 to $3.35 billion in 2013 and reservation change fees rose from $915 million in 2007 to $2.8 billion in 2013.

A recent GBTA study examining the transparency and trackability of ancillary fees found that only 21% of travel managers are tracking ancillary fees, such as baggage fees, although those fees now account for more than eight percent of total travel spend.  

“With better insight into how these fees work, travel managers can make more informed choices,” McCormick explained to the DOT. “Business travelers and their companies must be presented with an accurate and trackable view of fares and fees.”

Official text of GBTA comments here

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