Tuesday, 30 April 2013

What's wrong with the airlines' proposal for "personalized" ticket prices?

Since at least 2010, airlines have been contemplating replacing publicly-disclosed tariffs of airfares applicable equally to all passengers (as is required by current laws, although airlines seem to have forgotten that) with “personalized” prices that would allow a more profitable (for airlines) degree of price discrimination between travellers.

In October 2012, the international airline trade association IATA officially endorsed the goal of a transition to personalized pricing.

IATA claims it is no longer a cartel, but as a condition of its continuing partial exemption from US antitrust law it is still required to submit certain of its joint decisions for review, and in some cases approval, by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). As part of this process, IATA has now submitted its Resolution 787 endorsing the goal of personalized pricing for public comment and DOT approval.

I submitted these comments today opposing IATA’s request and explaining why personalized airline ticket pricing should remain illegal.

Most of the other comments submitted to DOT — even those on what I think to be the right side of the issue, opposing DOT approval of IATA Resolution 787 — reflect the commercial interests of various segments of the air travel and airline ticket sales industry: airlines themselves, travel agencies and agencies, computerized reservation systems, and other technology and infrastructure providers and intermediaries.

As of today, the only other comments I could find in the docket from any genuinely independent consumer advocacy organization are these from the Consumer Travel Alliance (CTA), with which I also work. There’s more from the CTA in their blog here. The New York Times has also weighed in with this editorial against the IATA proposal.

If you’d like to submit your own comments, endorsing mine and/or those of CTA, or making points of your own, you can do so online here. The comment deadline is tomorrow, Wednesday, 1 May 2013, at midnight Washington, DC, time.

Link | Posted by Edward on Tuesday, 30 April 2013, 20:35 ( 8:35 PM)

Comments of the American Antitrust Institute (opposing IATA's application for DOT approval of Resolution 787):


Posted by: Edward Hasbrouck, 2 May 2013, 08:42 ( 8:42 AM)

"Airlines want to tell you the price of travel after knowing who you are"

(Charlie Leocha, ConsumerTraveler.com, May 1, 2013)


Posted by: Edward Hasbrouck, 3 May 2013, 22:04 (10:04 PM)
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