that requires airlines to tie fuel surcharges to actual cost;
imposes a $400 fuel surcharge or carrier-imposed charge, when a consumer redeems miles for a trip even though the price of oil has fallen 70 percent since June of 2014, and even though DOT considers airline loyalty points as a discount for future travel in return for a consumer's repeat business;
4. fails to make available frequent flier seats sufficient to meet demand;
5. advertises rock-bottom airfares but provides insufficient inventory to meet any reasonable definition of demand;
6. charges $200 - 6 to 7 times the cost of handling a ticket change â when the cost to airlines for customer contact with a call center to change a reservation ranges from $25 to $35 dollars;
7. mishandles the carriage of a pet leading to injury or death;
8. fails to deliver a service at a level that a consumer would reasonably expect such as (a) when an airline damages or loses a customer's baggage and the airline fails to make a refund or there is an excessive delay of the refund, (b) when a customer cancels a flight and the airline fails to make a refund or there is an excessive delay of the refund and (c) when an airline pursues a practice of a high percentage of over-sales and involuntary bumpings;
9. fails, prior to a consumer's purchase, to disclose that the flight being booked is on the DOT's list of chronically late flights and is thus a highly defective product; and
10. refuses at small to medium-size airports to allow competitors access to leased gates on customary terms, maintaining its dominant market position by blocking new entrant competition.
In recent years the U.S. has gone from 10 airlines controlling some 80 percent of domestic seat capacity to just 4 airlines. A financially viable air transportation system is critically important to the social and economic goals of the United States. However, competitive concentration has led to airline policies and practices that are increasingly in violation of 49 U.S.C. 41712 and, as such, undermine the interests of consumers.
The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, and Congress more fully, have an opportunity and inviolable obligation to remedy this growing national problem of consumer harm in the marketplace for commercial aviation services.