Trump Should Resume the Airline Price Transparency Request

Large signs promoting the city's bid are seen at the arrival area of Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport Thursday, May 11, 2017 as the city seeks the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. Envisioning the 2024 Olympic Games in Los Angeles takes imagination. Olympic organizers describe their proposal as ready to go, yet a lot remains on paper as International Olympic Committee members visit Los Angeles this week. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Few industries are as highly regulated as the airlines. Big government has made air travel a nightmare for most Americans to deal with. People would rather drive!


If the airlines are using government to keep people from doing proper price shopping, then we should investigate that. Donald Trump should order the re-opening of the airline price transparency request for information.

The issue involved here is a bit thorny. Airlines publish prices online. Third parties started making tools to scan those prices, to help people do intelligent comparison shopping. Checking airports, routes, airlines, and other options to find the cheapest, best way to travel there and back again.

So what did the airlines do, as the free flow of information cut into their market segmentation? Did they revise their business models to account for smarter customers? Nope, they started threatening people legally.

As a result of those threats, the Department of Transportation started a formal Request for Information, encouraging people to send in facts and opinions about the matter, in order to inform future legislation and regulation. Sounds reasonable right? Well, the Trump administration shut it down.


Airlines benefit from a massive regulatory apparatus that keeps people in line, gives the airlines a controlled oligopoly, boosting prices for their benefit, at our expense. The least we can do is investigate how they’re using those privileges, and attempting to take new privileges, in order to benefit the public at large.

They gladly accept regulations when those regulations benefits their businesses. They must accept regulations when those regulations benefit us, to make it fair. The Trump administration on this should look out for the little guy who needs to shop for air fares on sites like Kayak.


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