Democrats ask Chao to promote airline price competition

Democrats ask Chao to promote airline price competition
© Greg Nash

Five Democratic senators wrote to Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine Lan ChaoPelosi gets standing ovation at Kennedy Center Honors Lobbying world Democratic chairman presses Transportation secretary over transparency in Boeing 737 Max probe MORE on Friday, asking her to take steps to improve price competition among airlines. 

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The request would study whether airlines restrict "distribution or display of airline flight information" and whether that "constitute(s) an unfair and deceptive business practice and/or an unfair method of competition."

“The traveling public depends on third-party price comparison sites to make apples-to-apples comparisons among fares and flights and to select the best price, schedule, and airport from all available options,” they wrote in their letter

“Unfortunately, some airlines appear to be taking steps to restrict consumer access to fare and schedule information on such sites. We strongly urge the Department of Transportation to lift the RFI suspension and continue exploring industry practices on distribution and display of airline fare, schedule, and availability information," the senators added. "We also urge the DOT to use its existing statutory authority to protect consumers from unfair or deceptive practices, or unfair methods of competition upon conclusion of this proceeding.”

The letter was sent the Friday before Labor Day weekend, when many Americans travel. 

The Hill has reached out to the Transportation Department for comment.