AAA, the United States’ largest leisure travel association, announced its opposition to any proposal that would charge airline travellers an additional fee for requesting a paper ticket.
“Until airlines establish systems that will allow air passengers to easily exchange their electronic tickets when forced to by delays, cancellations or other unexpected events, the airlines have no business asking travellers to pay extra for requesting a paper ticket,” said Robert L. Darbelnet, President and CEO of aaa.
“As air travellers currently endure one strike by Comair employees, and face the daunting prospect of possible strikes by major airlines employees this summer, paper tickets become a necessity to the traveller, not a luxury,” said Darbelnet.
The proposal to charge extra to passengers requesting paper tickets was suggested by American Airlines as a cost-cutting measure for the industry. The plan would require travellers to pay an additional $10 for a paper copy of their ticket.
“If your airline happens to strike, it can be very difficult to go to another carrier and request a seat on the next available flight if you are holding an electronic ticket,” said Darbelnet. “The technological communication among the airlines simply does not yet exist to provide for a smooth exchange of e-tickets.”
That reality prompted AAA to announce earlier this week that passengers should opt for the paper version of their airline ticket. According to AAA, the difficulty in transferring to another airline with an e-ticket could result in missing alternate flights, being placed further down a stand-by list or even worse, left stranded in an airport.
“The airlines have recently made promises to improve customer service,” said Darbelnet. “This proposal appears to be a complete contradiction and presents potential hardships for consumers. It unfairly increases the cost to passengers, who out of necessity need to protect themselves from the effects of an airline strike or significant service disruption.”
In its own version of a “Passenger Bill of Rights”, AAA included the need to improve systems that facilitate the exchanging of electronic tickets as an objective passengers should expect from the airlines. “While it`s understandable that airlines seek cost efficiencies, they should not expect travellers to pay extra when the e-ticket will bring them nothing but grief if there are travel disruptions,” said Darbelnet.
“When the airlines improve the technology and communications to support the reliable exchange of electronic tickets, then it will make sense to transition fully to this paper-less ticket system. For now, we strongly urge the airlines to abandon charging passengers fees for paper tickets.”