DOT consumer committee breaks with ASTA on ancillary fees

The consumer committee advising the Transportation Department on consumer protection issues recommended that the DOT require all travel agents, including online agents, to "disclose the fact that they do not offer for sale all airlines' tickets, if that is the case, and that additional airlines may serve the route being searched."

But the committee refrained from recommending that the DOT require airlines to include all ancillary services in GDSs, as ASTA had advocated.

The committee said it "encourages all participants in the industry -- airlines, distribution systems, and agents -- to continue innovating with respect to transparency and distribution of optional products and services."

The committee also recommended that the DOT upgrade its consumer website and improve its handling of consumer complaints.

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