Today two organizations that most consumers barely know, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Open Allies for Airfare Transparency, are sitting down in Miami to discuss the future of travel distribution. In consumer-speak, they are discussing setting new technical standards that will ultimately determine how travelers will be able to purchase airline tickets, extra fees, hotels, rental cars, cruises and packaged tours.
As a bankruptcy solution the merger of American Airlines with US Airways is a wonderful solution. Creditors are made whole, stockholders do not lose all of the value of their stocks (though it has been dramatically reduced) and the business of aviation can continue. However, there is the messy business about how this merger will affect consumers.
Yesterday, representatives of the Consumer Travel Alliance, Consumers Union, National Consumers League and Consumer Federation of America met with the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to discuss the new DOT rulemaking that when released in the next 60-or-so days will create a new set of regulations that will change the passenger-rights landscape more than any government act since deregulation.