Nation's Largest Travel Companies Call on Airlines to Disclose Fares/Fees in Current Systems, Protect Comparison Shopping

By Open Allies For Airline Transparency, PRNE
Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More than 115 Founding Members of Open Allies for Airfare Transparency Include Largest U.S. Travel Sellers, Major Trade Organizations, Corporate Travel Departments from Companies Including Dell, Oracle, News Corp.

WASHINGTON, January 20, 2011 - More than 115 of the nation's largest travel companies and organizations
today launched Open Allies for Airfare Transparency, an industry-wide effort
to urge major airlines to share all of their fare and ancillary fee
information through the distribution systems they currently use and not to
circumvent those systems through new, untested, and potentially costly
"direct connect" approaches.

Founding members of the Open Allies coalition include many of the
nation's largest travel agencies, travel management companies, corporate
travel departments, online travel agencies, global distribution systems, and
travel trade organizations. Among the founding members are:

    -- Many of the nation's largest travel sellers, including 20 of the 53
       companies with annual sales of more than $100 million on Travel
       Weekly's 2010 "Power List."
    -- Corporate travel departments for many of the world's largest
       companies, including Oracle (#13 on the Corporate Travel 100 list
       compiled by Business Travel News), Dell (#35), News Corp. (#70),
       Logitech, Sapient, Sodexo, and Textron, among others.
    -- Trade associations representing broad segments of the travel industry,
       including the American Society of Travel Agents, Business Travel
       Coalition, European Technology and Travel Services Association,
       Interactive Travel Services Association, and the Scottish Passenger
       Agents Association.

"Hidden fees and closed airline systems are forcing millions of consumers
to 'fly blind' when making their travel arrangements," said Andrew Weinstein,
director of the Open Allies coalition. "When you can't see the full price of
tickets or compare them among airlines, you lose the greatest benefit of our
modern travel system and the benefits of price competition among the
airlines. Some airlines want to turn back the clock to the days of
proprietary reservation systems, silos of closed data, and one-off displays
without price comparisons. Consumers deserve the ability to compare prices
across airlines, and Open Allies will work to ensure they continue to have

The coalition plans to work with stakeholders across the travel industry
to advocate on behalf of price transparency and full access to airline
pricing and fee information.

"Untested, incomplete and costly direct connect systems are not a good
idea," said Kevin Mitchell, Chairman of the Business Travel Coalition.
"Through Open Allies, travel industry organizations, individual distribution
system participants and corporate travel managers are providing the
leadership and analysis that indicates direct connect will not usher in
better, cheaper, faster travel solutions, but rather will reduce price
competition and reintroduce to the industry and consumers the inefficiencies
and opaqueness of the 1970s air ticket purchasing environment."

As part of its educational efforts, Open Allies released the first in a
series of "white papers" on the technological, financial, and policy issues
involved. That analysis, "Customized Services and Comparison Shopping:
Preserving Price Transparency in the Age of 'Unbundled' Airline Services," is
available on the Open Allies website.

"Travel agents are the front-line advocates for travelers, and those
agents - from mom-and-pop travel agencies to the largest travel companies in
the world - are overwhelmingly opposed to hidden fares or any system that
reduces price transparency," said Paul Ruden, Senior Vice President of the
American Society of Travel Agents. "Our members are some of the airlines'
closest partners. We hope the airlines reconsider the more fragmented direct
connect approach and work with us to make all of their fares and fees
available to all travelers through the systems the travelers themselves
choose to use."

For more information and a full list of coalition members, please visit

About Open Allies for Airline Transparency

Open Allies for Airfare Transparency, a coalition representing all of the
stakeholders in the travel booking industry, works to promote price
transparency and full access to airline pricing and fee information. Learn
more about the Open Allies coalition and join the campaign to preserve
comparison shopping and competition in air travel at or on Twitter at @openairfare

Andrew Weinstein, andrew at, +1-202-667-4967

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