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How thousands of fees hurt airline competition

Open Allies for Airfare Transparency,( an organization of travel agents, consumer groups and travel-reservations companies, is waging an uphill battle to give air travelers more information before they buy tickets about the full cost of their trips. Among other efforts, the allies want the U.S. Department of Transportation to adopt rules that make complete cost information -- all fees included -- transparent on all buying "channels," meaning from airline Web sites, online travel agents or regular service-for-fee agencies. The most recent statement from Open Allies, by Charlie Leocha of the Consumer Travel Alliance, makes a good argument that airlines have created a far less competitive travel landscape with the adoption of thousands of possible fee permutations. Read his statement here, and check the group's Web site link above for more information about the need for requiring airlines to do more to help customers before they buy.