04 Apr Travel Tech Takes a Stand for Innovation at DOT Hearing – Advocates for Ancillary Fee Website Display Flexibility
Travel Tech Takes a Stand for Innovation at DOT Hearing
Advocates for Ancillary Fee Website Display Flexibility
[Arlington, VA] [April 4, 2023] – Laura Chadwick, President & CEO of the Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech), the voice of the travel technology industry and consistent advocate for public policy that empowers traveler choice, testified at a recent U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) hearing on its proposed “Enhancing Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees” regulation alongside expert leaders from member companies Amadeus, Priceline (as part of Booking Holdings), and Skyscanner.
The hearing, separately petitioned for by both Travel Tech and Airlines for America, focused entirely on the proposed rule’s requirement that critical ancillary fees must be shown on the first page of search results alongside fare and schedule information. Today, additional optional services, including checked bags, specific seat selection, and carry-on bags, are presented to consumers early in the flight search process.
Read Travel Tech CEO Chadwick’s DOT Hearing Testimony
“Travel Tech firmly believes that our member companies are best positioned to innovate and determine how ancillary fee information should be presented to consumers,” stated Chadwick. “In addition to our written comments and those of our members, we pursued this hearing because we are concerned about the deep impact this proposed first-page search results requirement would have on consumers. This is especially true for those shopping on travel comparison sites that display hundreds of flight combinations across a multitude of different airlines.”
In its rationale for the proposed first-page search results requirement, the DOT cited that “because most passengers travel once per year or less, they may not be aware of certain ancillary service fees, such as those related to seat selection.” However, in an online survey commissioned by Travel Tech of over 1,000 U.S. American adult consumers from March 24-26, it was found that:
- Nearly 90% of all U.S. adults know they may have to pay additional fees for optional services beyond the cost of their airline ticket, including Baby Boomers at 92% and 87% of the so-called “Silent Generation” (adults aged 78-95).
- 60% of U.S. adults have used travel comparison sites, and of those who likely use Travel Tech member websites, 96% of consumers know they may have to pay additional fees for optional services (e.g., checked bags, specific seat selection, carry-on bag, etc.) beyond the cost of their ticket.
- Consumers’ satisfaction with travel comparison sites was closely tied to how fares are currently presented on these sites and their ability to get relevant flight information quickly and easily.
Chadwick, in her testimony, observed that, “Consumers know that critical ancillary fees are now a part of travel – they expect these fees and know that they are optional services and not required. There are no surprises here. As such, there is no need to overload the first-page search results with the extra information this rule would require.”
Hearing witnesses from Travel Tech member companies Amadeus, Priceline (as part of Booking Holdings), and Skyscanner shared their expertise with the DOT, testifying to the technical infeasibility of the proposed first-page search results requirement. Their testimony, along with other witnesses, can be accessed at: https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/AirlineAncillaryFeeNPRM/March30_Public_Hearing_Recording
About Travel Tech
The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) empowers traveler choice by advocating for public policy that promotes marketplace transparency and competition. Travel Tech represents the leading innovators in travel technology, including global distribution systems, online travel agencies, metasearch companies, travel management companies, and short-term rental platforms.
To schedule an interview with a Travel Tech spokesperson, contact Dan Rene of kglobal at 202-329-8357 or email@example.com.