DOT Guidance Expected in January; Group Expects OTA’s, US Airways to Quickly Comply
Buffalo, New York- December 21, 2010 – With Department of Transportation guidance on new regional airline disclosure requirements expected in January, The ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ continued their push for expedient action by the government agency and all Internet sites, and expressed their disappointment with recent quotes by representatives of online ticketing agency (OTA) giants Expedia and Travelocity suggesting that the DOT was at fault for dragging its feet on issuing new guidelines.
“Claiming that they are waiting for the DOT to issue guidance so that they can modify their site conveniently overlooks the fact that Orbitz has been doing this all along,’ stated Kevin Kuwik of Columbus, Ohio, who lost his girlfriend Lorin Maurer on Flight 3407. “We strongly believe that it shouldn’t have taken an act of Congress for this to be happening in the first place, as we have found out the hard way that which regional airline is operating your flight is critical information that every passenger not only deserves to have, but NEEDS to have, when selecting their flight. It is very disappointing to see these companies try to shift the blame for their consumer-unfriendly practices to a convenient target like a government agency.”
The above-referenced legislation (which is included at the bottom of this release) calls for the full disclosure of the regional carrier operating every flight segment of a given itinerary on the initial listing. Surveys of numerous online ticket sites have identified Expedia and Travelocity, as well as US Airways.com and smaller outlets like Kayak, CheapOair, TripAdvisor, Priceline, and Sidestep, as making it difficult if not impossible for its customers to determine this information. The family group is asking concerned members of the public to file complaints with the Department of Transportation under its policy of unfair and deceptive marketing, of which violations can carry a fine of up to $27,500. (The DOT complaint weblink, as well as sample complaints, can be found at https://3407memorial.com/whosflying.php.)
“From our vantage point, for Expedia and Travelocity to state that they have been waiting for DOT to act sends the message that they are simply looking to do the bare minimum to comply with this requirement,” added Scott Maurer of Moore, South Carolina, who lost his thirty year old daughter Lorin. “Heaven forbid that they would identify the regional carrier in a font size that was larger than what Orbitz currently does or that goes beyond what DOT ends up mandating. We are certainly not going to hesitate to call DOT on the carpet if they don’t deliver on their end of the deal. But the fact remains that we have struggled for nearly two years to make sure that all Americans know what our loved ones didn’t know about regional airlines, and it is disappointing that we are not getting 100% support on this small but significant issue. We will continue to reach out to the American flying public to support our cause.”