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National Business Travel Association

NBTA comments on DOT’s revised CRS rules – Association outlines need to protect consumer choices

The National Business Travel Association (NBTA) reacted to the changes included in the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) revised…

The National Business Travel Association (NBTA) reacted to the changes included in the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) revised rules governing computer reservation systems (CRSs). NBTA is pleased that the DOT proposed placing new restrictions on the data that airlines may obtain from the CRSs. However, the DOT did not extend the rules to cover the distribution of airfares over the Internet, which would have provided consumers with full access to all fares.



Since 1997, NBTA has provided the DOT with comments and suggestions to help ensure that the travel distribution systems provide impartial and secure travel choices, as defined by the consumer and the corporation, not by the suppliers of travel services. The DOT cited NBTA’s concerns and research throughout the document.



As stated in previous comments to the DOT, NBTA believes that allowing the large airlines access to detailed data on travel agency bookings through the systems could reduce competition in the airline industry and enable airlines to pressure travel agencies and corporations into diverting sales from competing airlines. We commend the DOT for proposing restrictions on airlines’ access to the information of their competitors, thereby promoting competition and ensuring the privacy of corporations’ data, said NBTA President Kevin Iwamoto.



However, NBTA is concerned that the DOT neglected the needs of consumers by not making the rules apply to the distribution of airfares over the Internet. The DOT should not lose sight of the needs of consumers, who were the victims of past CRS violations, said Iwamoto. By making the CRSs rules apply to online fares, the DOT would provide travelers with transparent views of all travel options and increase consumer choice.



NBTA is also concerned about the DOT’s elimination of mandatory participation in all CRSs by all airlines. While we understand the DOT’s intention to help the carriers reduce their distribution costs by forcing the CRSs to compete, NBTA is concerned that the elimination of mandatory participation will impact consumer choice, concluded Iwamoto.



NBTA will be providing comments to the proposed rules in the next few weeks.

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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