U.S. DOT Convenes First Meeting of Reestablished Consumer Protection Committee Without a Single Consumer Representative

Travel Fairness Now says having consumers represented by an anti-regulation, political organization is yet another example of a system working against public

WASHINGTON — APRIL 04, 2019 — Travel Fairness Now, a consumer advocacy organization representing 70,000 travelers, said that today’s first meeting of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) reconstituted Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee (ACPAC) is yet another example of how DOT is ignoring its statutory obligations to the flying public so that it can continue to do the bidding of big airlines and special interests.

“Every week DOT’s actions demonstrate a taxpayer-funded government of the airlines, by the airlines and for the airlines,” said Kurt Ebenhoch, executive director of Travel Fairness Now. “Appointing a representative from a political, agenda-driven, anti-consumer protection organization to the single consumer seat of the four member-ACPAC shows blatant disregard and disrespect for the spirit and intent of Congress and the taxpayers they represent.” 

On Nov. 15, 2018, DOT announced that the four member ACPAC consumer committee would not include a single representative from one of the many consumer groups that would have been pleased to provide their expertise. Instead, ACPAC consists of like-minded representatives of the airline industry and anti-regulatory advocates including the general counsel of the powerful airline industry lobbying group Airlines for America, which a recent report shows went so far as to engage the acting administrator of the safety-focused Federal Aviation Administration to quash consumer protection regulations. Equally as egregious, a representative of the anti-regulatory Competitive Enterprise Institute will serve as the single “consumer representative” on this consumer protection committee.

A recent survey of 5,000 travelers found that: 

  • 91 percent of respondents feel that DOT should include representatives from consumer organizations on task forces about flier protections
  • 79 percent of respondents feel it is wrong to include an airline lobbyist on such a panel
  • Just four percent of respondents feel that DOT is fighting for the rights of the average consumer

“Failing to include a genuine consumer representative with experience and expertise in consumer travel issues is yet another example of how the DOT is dedicated to the profits of the airline industry at the expense of consumers,” Ebenhoch added. “The flying public deserves better from the people whose salaries they are paying to protect them.” 

About Travel Fairness Now

Travel Fairness Now is made up of more than 70,000 travelers who believe easy comparison shopping and genuine airfare transparency are critical to competition, which is vital to health of American families, businesses, communities and the economy. Travel Fairness Now is endorsed by the American Society of Travel Agents and the Travel Technology Association. For more information, visit https://www.travelfairnessnow.org.