Consumer Protection

Consumer Groups Submit Reply Comments to the Department of Transportation Regarding Airlines’ Push for Deregulation

In reply comments filed with the US Deparment of Transportation (DOT), CFA and other consumer groups point out that the comments submitted by Airlines for America, the International Air Transport Association, the Regional Airline Association, and individual airlines, which advocate for the removal of virtually every applicable airline consumer protection under the US Code of Federal Regulations, completely miss the point of the role of DOT and the intent of the Airlines Deregulation Act of 1978 (ADA) in protecting the interests of the flying public. The ADA specifically noted that the purpose of deregulating the airlines was for economic deregulation, not to weaken consumer protections. To that end, the law specifically gave the DOT responsibility to protect consumers and required them to collect necessary data to ensure the efficient and safe operations of the US aviation system.

Competitive market forces cannot work effectively in the airline industry without disclosing full pricing data, the rules and restrictions that apply, and other factors so that consumers can make informed buying decisions. It is also essential for consumers to be informed of their rights and how to complain to the DOT if they believe an airline has not treated then correctly, and for the DOT to take swift, appropriate action to stop unfair, deceptive, and abusive airline practices.

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