IN OTHER NEWS:
Brand USA ads debut at Pow Wow 6
THE NATIONAL NEWSPAPER OF THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY
APRIL 30, 2012
Travel editors debate
this year’s hot desti-
travel habits and the
popularity of agents.
[ A NEGATIVE OUTCOME FOR AGENTS? ]
heats up between
airlines and DOT
By Johanna Jainchill
PHO TO B Y S TEVE HOCKS TEIN/HARVARD S TUDIOS
The evolving battle between airlines and
GDSs has taken a new turn, with the Department of Transportation (DOT) getting closer
to deciding on a proposal that would mandate airlines serving the U.S. to distribute
ancillary content through GDSs.
Airline groups in opposition to the idea
stepped up their lobbying efforts over the
past two weeks, most recently making a direct appeal to Transportation Secretary Ray
LaHood, urging him not to move forward.
At issue is a DOT project called “
Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections III,” a
follow-up to recently completed DOT rulemakings that imposed the tarmac-delay rule
on airlines and adopted new standards for
airline advertising and the disclosure of ancillary fees.
An unresolved question from those proceedings was whether the DOT should require airlines to make all their ancillary services available in GDSs, as well.
[ AMID FALLOUT FROM GSA SCANDAL, GBTA CANCELS JUNE FORUM ]
Bills would freeze government travel spending
By Johanna Jainchill and Bill Poling
The proposal also would
require agents to adopt ser-
vice standards and disclose
Agents and travel management
companies that handle government
travel predict that votes in Congress
last week to cut and freeze travel
spending by government agencies
for five years could have a significant impact on their businesses.
The actions in Congress appear to be
backlash from the scandal over the General
Services Administration’s (GSA) excessive
spending on its Western Regions Conference
Measures passed by the House and the
Senate would cap travel spending by gov-
ernment agencies at 80% of their 2010 level
through 2016. The two versions were not
identical, however, and must still be recon-
ciled before they can become law.
According to a DOT schedule of work-in-progress, the proposal is one of several possible new consumer rules that could be ready
to be issued as a formal proposal with a request for industry comments in August.
According to both sides, the DOT has over
the last month reached out to a number of
entities looking at the cost and benefits.
Groups in favor of that section of the rulemaking include ASTA, the Interactive Travel
Services Association (ITSA) and other GDS
and travel agency trade associations.
But they are faced with a possible negative
outcome of the rule’s passage: the Enhancing
Airline Passenger Protections proposal also