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Saturday, March 04, 2017

Greedy Airlines Found A Partner In Crime-- The Trump Regime Wants To Encourage More Rip-offs Of Passengers


A week or so ago, we took a quick look at how Trump's policies are hurting the American travel industry-- and how pissed off the travel industry is at him and his regime. It looks like it will be getting worse too. Thursday the EU Parliament passed a non-binding resolution calling for the reintroduction of visa requirements for American citizens, a little tit-for-tat over Washington refusing to give visa-free travel access to 5 EU nations (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania).
In the vote on Thursday, the Parliament gave the European Commission two months to take legal measures to impose visas for American travelers to the European Union unless the Americans offered reciprocity to all citizens from the bloc.

European officials in Brussels have balked at making travel to Europe more difficult for Americans, saying doing so would have an economic cost and would most likely not even resolve the hurdles facing citizens of the five affected countries.

The Parliament’s measure was approved in a show of hands and was not expected to worsen the standoff with the United States. But in the event that the court in Luxembourg were to rule in favor of Parliament, the commission might be forced to impose visa requirements on Americans.

The Trump administration, finding itself in a tit-for-tat battle over access, would then almost certainly do the same for travelers from the European Union.
(It would probably be prudent for Trump to add Cyprus-- a shady Russian Mafia den of iniquity-- to his travel ban altogether. But that's not going to happen while the Trump kakistocracy is in power.)

Anyway-- back to the travel industry-- it looks like one segment of that industry-- the airlines-- are happy with Trump again. Elaine Chao (Mitch McConnell's beard wife) is the Secretary of Transportation and she's already starting to roll back regulations that protected the public from the runaway avarice and greed of the U.S. airlines. Travel Weekly posted about it Thursday. The Trumpists came down firmly on the side of the airlines when it comes to ripping off passengers with hidden fees for baggage, etc.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) on Thursday indefinitely suspended public comment on two proposed consumer-protection measures that the Obama administration put forward during its last months in office.

The DOT took the steps to "allow the president's appointees to review and consider this action," it said in Federal Register filings.

Last October, the DOT issued a request for information from consumer groups, airlines and other industry stakeholders to determine whether it should regulate the common airline practice of displaying only some content offerings through indirect channels, such as OTAs and GDSs, while displaying their full offerings on their own websites. In late December, the DOT extended that comment period to March 31 from its initial end date of Dec. 31. That comment period has now been suspended while the DOT reviews its merits.

The DOT has also suspended the final airline-related rulemaking process that was begun during the Obama administration. On Jan. 19, just three days before Obama left office, the DOT proposed a requirement that airlines and ticket agents (including travel agents) disclose fees for carry-on and checked bags from the beginning of a fare inquiry.

If enacted, the rule would mean that carriers couldn't show a ticket price on a web interface, then only later in the sales process show fees for baggage.

Public comment on that proposal had been scheduled to close on March 20.

...The trade group Travel Tech, which represents OTAs, travel search sites and GDSs, said Thursday that it is disappointed with both suspensions.

"Consumers deserve transparency in fare and schedule information and ancillary fees," Travel Tech president Steve Shur said in prepared remarks. "DOT must live up to its mandate on consumer protection and ensure consumers have access to all the information they need to make a purchasing decision."

President Trump has said reducing regulations will be a key policy goal of his administration.
Needless to say, the airline lobbyists were giddy with joy. Airlines for America President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio: "We applaud Secretary Chao’s leadership today and look forward to an era of smarter regulation that protects consumers from unfair practices, but does not step in when action is not warranted. Today’s action is a common sense measure reinforcing that the airline industry is capable of making the decisions that best serve our customers, our employees and the communities we serve."

1 comment:

George Estremera said...

We travel agents need to be wary of this crap, and protect our businesses as much as possible. I don't know about the Trump administration.