NBTA Proposes Improved Service Framework for U.S. Air Travel
Business Travel Community Wants Fee Transparency for Travelers
The National Business Travel Association (NBTA) – the voice of the global business travel industry – will file comments this week with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) advocating for an improved framework of customer service requirements for purchasers of air travel. The NBTA position -- outlined in response to a wide-ranging DOT proposal on “Enhancing Airline Customer Protections” – focuses on three major areas of protection for airline customers: expanding protections against lengthy tarmac delays; updating denied boarding compensation caps; and providing full transparency for the sale of airline ancillary products or fees.
Expanding Tarmac Delay Requirements
Enhancing Oversales and Denied Boarding Compensation Requirements
Lastly, the DOT rulemaking aims to give travelers added flexibility in the form of payment for DBC by requiring airlines to offer cash or check compensation. While NBTA supports the spirit of that proposal, the association recommended all such compensation be credited to the form of payment used to purchase the original ticket. That would restore the funds to the purchaser, which may be different than the traveler, in the case of a business traveler traveling on a ticket purchased on a company credit card, for example.
Transparency for Airline Fees
The DOT proposed rules center around disclosure of airline fees on the airlines’ own websites and eticket confirmations. NBTA contends that these proposals do not do enough to protect business and consumers purchasing air travel tickets today or in the future, navigating an ever-more complex array of ancillary airline fees or products.
From the perspective of managing expenses, fees equal fares. To enable business travelers, their companies, and other air travel consumers to make informed decisions, NBTA in its filing reiterated the position that DOT should establish a framework for transparency so travelers and booking agents can understand the total cost of travel before booking a ticket. On the other hand, the requirements should not stifle innovation in airline sales or in the myriad distribution models in the marketplace. To accomplish these dual goals, DOT should require airlines to provide fees information along with faring information such that any platform selling airline inventory can acquire and display the fees information for those researching and booking travel, without dictating how the fees data be transmitted or displayed.
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About the Global Business Travel Association
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is the world's premier business travel and meetings trade organization headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with operations on six continents. GBTA's 9,000-plus members manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA delivers world-class education, events, research, advocacy and media to a growing global network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active contacts. To learn how business travel drives lasting business growth, visit gbta.org.