WASHINGTON– U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) today welcomed the Department of Transportation’s newly announced efforts to promote competition and increase transparency in the airline industry, but emphasized the need for further action.
“Americans have grown all too familiar with flying the unfriendly skies, where a shrinking set of airlines gouge customers with unfair fees for basic amenities and services,” the Senators said. “Passengers who have seen basic consumer rights checked at the gate are looking to federal regulators to ensure that those rights are protected when they fly. While we appreciate Department of Transportation’s continued commitment to tackling this issue, this set of actions, in the final months of this Administration, punts real reform and allows airlines to continue hiding the true cost of flying under a shroud of secrecy. We need immediate action to ensure customers get an all-in price when shopping and full access to airline flights and schedules so they can comparison shop -- not just promises of further review of these well-known problems. Clearly, more must be done, and we look forward to continuing to press for robust reforms that reward consumers with real competition.”
Senators Blumenthal and Markey have been at the forefront of efforts to increase airline competition and ensure consumers have the information they need to make informed purchasing decisions. The Senators and Senator Warren sent a letter to the Director of the National Economic Council Jeffrey Zients in August urging him to recommend that the Department of Transportation (DOT) use its existing authority to promote a transparent, competitive marketplace that allows consumers to easily make good purchasing decisions. They also sent a letter to the DOT in March requesting the Secretary use its existing authority to promote transparent price competition that will allow consumers to quickly and easily make good purchasing decisions, but the Department has yet to take that action.