Nader: Airlines Keep Billions From Confiscatory Fine Print on Airline Tickets

Fair Contracts and Ralph Nader made a Freedom of Information Act Request to find out how much money the major airlines keep from those unused, nonrefundable tickets people don’t or can’t or forget to use within the one-year expiration limit set by the airlines in their fine print contracts of carriage terms.

It turns out that the Department of Transportation (DOT) doesn’t ask the airlines to break down the data in this way, but on the air carriers’ balance sheet, year after year, Air Traffic Liability, the line item including "unused transportation sold" — the term for confiscated tickets, appears to have billions not offset by their accounts receivable. 

So how much is it actually?  Ralph Nader wrote to six of the major airlines back in December, see earlier post, and the airlines refuse to disclose this information.  The DOT doesn’t know as it doesn’t ask for a breakout of this information within the data it does collect in regulating the airlines.

We think its billions of dollars and that there should at least be a public discussion about it.

See Press Release, Airlines for America’s response, and FOIA request below.