Richard J. Fahy, Jr.
Executive Director, National Commission to Ensure Consumer Information and Choice in the Airline Industry
Dear Mr. Fahy:
I am writing because I am concerned that the concerns of the “brick and mortar” travel agents will result in protectionist measures that will threaten the growing market for online travel services. The Association for Competitive Technology represents over 3,000 IT companies and professionals. A great many of our membership is involved in the creation and execution of world class e-commerce websites like Orbitz. ACT vigorously supports any competitor that invests in information technology to serve consumers better, faster, and cheaper. ACT is just as vigorous in opposing the use of government regulation to prohibit competition on the merits of investment and innovation.
The efficiencies created by the Internet and new technologies translate directly to benefits for consumers and suppliers. Also as always – competition is good for the marketplace and consumers. Finally, nothing is stopping travel agents from using the Internet to satisfy their users. Online travel services, including Orbitz, are aimed at providing consumers with the best prices and most choices. Unlike the traditional travel agents, who admitted at the hearing, serve as agents of the airlines, the online travel services are responsible to consumers. It would be irresponsible for Congress or the Administration to step in and provide assistance to inefficient distribution models.
I look forward to working with the Commission as you work through this important issue. I also request an opportunity to appear before the Commission to present our members’ perspective.