GBTA Statement on House T&I Committee Hearing on Airline Customer Service

In light of recent incidents, we are seeing some positive developments with changes in policy related to denied boarding compensation and operational use of security personnel. However, something that was clearly missing from today’s House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on customer service was the voice of the business traveler. We do hope to see continued positive strides, but also hope that the voice of the consumer is heard prominently in this debate going forward.

Recently in a poll of a select group of our travel buyer members, we found that 64 percent felt that the “Passenger Bill of Rights” does not adequately protect the business traveler. Additionally, 69 percent felt that the federal government should conduct a review of the Contracts of Carriage for the airlines and 69 percent also felt that the compensation cap for “involuntary bumping” should be increased.

Several Committee members, including Chairman Bill Shuster and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio suggested that the Contracts of Carriage are overly complicated and should be simpler so that the consumer has an understanding of their rights as the customer. Such practices have been currently adopted in the European Union.

Last year, GBTA created the Rules of the Roads to make the global travel systems safer, more secure, more reliable and a better place to conduct and facilitate business. We encourage all suppliers and policy makers to take these Rules into account when making product or policy decisions.