How much money are airlines making from your unused, nonrefundable tickets? They won’t say. And so far, the Department of Transportation is not making them say.
How much money are airlines making from your unused, nonrefundable tickets?
They won’t say. So far, the Department of Transportation is not making them say.
Today Joe Sharkey reports in the New York Times here about our quest for information about how much money the airlines make off of passengers’ unused, nonrefundable tickets. For more than three years now, Ralph Nader and Theresa Amato of Citizen Works’ Fair Contracts Project have been trying to ascertain how much money the airlines keep as windfall profits when consumers cannot use their nonrefundable tickets, such as those that are less value than the change fee would cost, for example, or others that cannot be used because of the fine print in the airlines terms of service.
Nader wrote to the major airlines. Their trade association said it was proprietary info. Amato and Nader made a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Transportation. The DOT says it doesn’t require the airlines to break out the information the airlines already have to report in a lump sum way so that the public could understand this amount. Fair Contracts asked them why not? Why shouldn’t the flying public be able to understand how much the airlines are making off of these unused tickets?
The background materials are here: http://faircontracts.org/content/nader-airlines-keep-billions-confiscatory-fine-print-airline-tickets
Amato again asked the DOT on January 22, 2014 because back on June 10, 2013 an official of the DOT wrote:
“Your letter has been distributed to the relevant parties and the matter is under review. I will update you as soon as possible.”
We are still waiting for an answer for airline passengers.
It’s important. It could be billions.
Perhaps unused airline tickets are like unused gift cards on steroids and regulators should be looking into the windfall profits they generate….