Delta on Tuesday submitted a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade to comment on H.R. 4526 – the Stop Online Booking Scams Act of 2016. The Bill seeks to protect consumers from deceptive marketing practices in the hotel industry. In its letter, Delta noted parallels to some of the threats airline customers face from certain nefarious online travel sites.
Delta has experienced an ongoing trend of websites engaging in misleading and deceptive sales practices or engaging in outright fraud – swindling customers of money while masquerading as Delta business partners.
Delta works with many online travel agents and metasearch sites and supports the efficiency and convenience of the online distribution channel. However, Delta chooses not to do business with online travel sites that create poor itineraries that lack compliance with Department of Transportation disclosure requirements. While some in Congress want to airlines to provide full access to their booking content, Delta said in its letter that “the market works best for consumers when airlines are allowed to determine the online distribution channels of their products.”
It also filed lawsuits this month with the New Jersey federal court against sites that charged air travelers fees to cancel, modify or purchase Delta flights, then contacted Delta with fabricated stories about medical emergencies or the death of a relative to actually carry out the cancellations or other changes.