A recent commentary by Kevin Mitchell of the Business Travel Coalition and Charlie Leocha of Travelers United (“Keep Airfares Truly Transparent,” Aug. 7 Perspectives) unfortunately misses the mark on an issue that’s very important to airline customers and their travel costs.
The Transparent Airfares Act (HR 4156) that both Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Leocha take aim at recently achieved something not many in the country or Washington thought was possible in the current political environment: It passed the U.S. House of Representatives with broad, bipartisan support including both Republicans and Democratic representatives in Pennsylvania, such as U.S. Reps. Bill Shuster, Patrick Meehan, Robert Brady and Lou Barletta.
The legislation also has the support of leading labor unions, including the International Association of Machinists, Air Line Pilots Association and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
The reason the Transparent Airfares Act attracted this broad support was because it provides consumers with better information about how much of their airfare ticket price is for the base fare and how much is the result of taxes and fees added on by the federal government. When the government knows it can keep customers in the dark about taxes and fees, it is more likely to keep raising those taxes and adding on additional fees.
Federal bureaucrats and regulators should not view airline customers as just another ATM to raise revenue in order to pay for government spending. Kevin Mitchell, Charlie Leocha and the special interest organizations they represent should be applauding bipartisan movement in Washington on good legislation, not denigrating it.
Senior Vice President for Legislative and Regulatory Policy
Airlines for America
The writer’s organization is an airline industry association.