25 November 2012

BTC Agitates for Re-Regulation. Let's Keep Big Government Out

BTC a pressure group based in Radnor PA and is self appointed chairman is launching a new effort to bring big government back to Travel and re-regulate the industry. I firmly believe this is a bad move for the market. They are starting an appeal to get 25,000 signatures before the end of December.

Why is this bad and why will it fail?

I dislike the idea of fees - indeed I personally detest them. However I recognize the right of any company, service provider intermediary and individual to charge them for their products and services as they see fit.

What BTC is failing to recognize is a number of things.
  1. It is the fundamental right of a company to charge for its services as it sees fit
  2. This would have a detrimental effect on the Travel Industry to enforce compliance and raise costs accordingly. 
  3. It would apply not just to airlines but also to Travel Agencies (online and offline) who will be forced to disclose all fees and services. This would really hurt smaller companies and allow more market concentration. 
  4. The DoT already evaluated and dismissed further regulation on this topic. There is enough legislation extant.
  5. It is probably discriminatory to pick on a specific market. 
Presumably this effort is being funded by those who stand to benefit from additional work load. I do not know who these parties would be - but it would seem that the ultimate losers are going to be  the administration impact particularly on corporations and consumers - the very people who this push is purporting to help.

it should be remembered that the airlines need to make money. That is capitalism. The heavy hand of government has not had a good track record in air transportation services in providing benefit to the consumer. The airlines have been allowed to merge and create mega companies who can essentially do what they like. This policy of the DoT to allow mass concentration within the market where 5 companies control 90+% of the air transport market enables oligopoly behaviour such as this. That is water under the bridge and cannot be undone. Thus I believe any argument is moot that the Feds should get involved specifically over and above existing legislation/regulation.

I am a believer in States Rights - from a democracy point of view rather than an efficiency point of view. The question has to be asked as to whether this is a Federal issue or a States issue. (I refer the reader to the various seller in travel laws that have jurisdiction in this area already).

In an unsolicited email from BTC - the following statement is made. On this basis I am using the information provided to encourage the industry to fight against Re-regulation. Here is an exert and the highlight is mine:

"The WE the PEOPLE campaign model is a uniquely decentralized one in that any organization is free, indeed is encouraged, to copy all of the website's comprehensive information and tools to its own website or intranet for use with various constituencies. The website - http://www.businesstravelcoalition.com/whitehouse.html - contains the following components: petition text with a link to the WhiteHouse.gov signature page, social media tools to spread the word, a Media Center, a FAQ page and complete toolkits for TMCs, corporate travel managers and other industry participants that contain all needed communications templates to encourage colleagues, families and friends to get involved in this campaign."

Ultimately it is up to the market to decide. Let the electorate vote with their feet and their wallets.  The government should NOT be involved in this form of regulation. Do not sign. Do not promote this. DO let your voice be heard.

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