30 May 2012
The Consumer Travel Alliance (CTA) has praised the appointment of its director, Charlie Leocha, to the new Department of Transportation Advisory Committee on Aviation Consumer Protections (ACACP), saying "gives travelers a much-needed voice in Washington."
“Our message is simple — travelers should be treated with dignity. They deserve the truth, when it comes to price and product. They’re entitled to a hassle-free experience whether they’re cruising, driving or flying,” said Leocha. “For instance, CTA has been speaking with DOT and other advocates about ways that airlines can be more family-friendly and transparent, especially when it comes to new seat-reservation fees and the elimination by some airlines of early boarding for families with small children.”
CTA was launched in January of 2009 by two veteran travel journalists who decided that it was time consumers had a team working collaboratively within the system for consumer protections. Since its founding, CTA has adopted as its mission the setting of standards for customer service, transparency of pricing and products, education about rules and regulations, and protection of travelers’ privacy.
The group said its initial focus was working with congressional staff to support the most important consumer protections that had been included in the long-delayed FAA Reauthorization Bill and to cooperate with DOT in creating and commenting on new rulemakings that would enhance passenger protections on ticket purchases, overbooking, lost luggage and the first steps toward extra airline fee transparency.
The CTA said its Capitol Hill team has worked together with other associations dealing with travel such as Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of America, National Consumers League, the American Society of Travel Agents, Business Travel Coalition, Interactive Travel Services Association, Airport Councils International as well as Airlines for America.
“We have established strong working relations with the highest levels of the Department of Transportation, FAA, Department of Homeland Security, Senate Commerce Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee,” said Leocha. “These relationships, social media, partner travel websites and a strong research effort focused on disclosing travelers’ needs and attitudes are bringing clarity and unity to the need for travel protections.”