October 25, 2016
On Tuesday, October 18, 2016, the White House and the United States Department of Transportation (DOT or the “Department”) announced a suite of actions to enhance protections for consumers who travel by air. While almost all of the actions pertain only to the aviation industry, there is one notable exception that has potentially broad implications for all companies subject to competition regulation in the United States. Specifically, DOT issued a Request for Information (RFI) “Exploring Industry Practices on Distribution and Display of Airline Fare, Schedule and Availability Information.” Available at https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/RFI-exploring-industry-practices-impacting-distribution-display-of-airline-fare. The RFI seeks information on whether DOT should mandate that airlines provide certain information to online travel agents, metasearch sites and other entities purportedly to avoid unfair or deceptive trade practices that harm consumers by limiting their ability to comparison shop for airline services. The RFI has potentially far-reaching effects across all industries.