We welcome the news that travel agents in New York, New Jersey and
New England are marshaling their forces to stage a Day of Awareness
in Washington on Jan. 13. A number of ASTA chapters, ARTA members
and other agent groups said they support the initiative.
Modeled after a similar demonstration that brought together
about 500 retailers and ASTA officials on the steps of the state
capitol in Denver on Oct. 27, Day of Awareness northeastern-style
is designed to rally support for H.R. 2200, a passenger rights bill
pending in the House of Representatives.
The legislation, the handiwork of ASTA and the Coalition for
Travel Industry Parity, would guarantee the traveling public the
availability of all fares, no matter how booked -- a sore point
with the trade.
While demonstrations such as this sometimes turn out to be
gestures of little or no practical import, with national elections
less than a year away the time appears right for agents to get up
close and personal with congressmen and their aides in order to
lobby for legislative redress.
Jeanne Sturm Sherman, president of ASTA's Long Island (N.Y.)
chapter and the event organizer, said 100 agencies have agreed to
participate, "even if it means closing our offices for the
In our view, the more the merrier.
It is with some degree of detachment that we hunker down in no
man's land while Priceline.com and Expedia.com go head to head in a
war of words over who is better equipped to lure travel consumers
from brick-and-mortar travel agencies.
Surely, trade traditionalists -- among them you, perhaps --
probably wish they were hurling bombs at each other, not barbs.