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As the world’s airlines attempt to develop a new technology standard for personalizing special offers to frequent flyers, the lobbying battle over the issue in the nation’s capital is heating up.
Kevin Mitchell’s for-profit coalition of newsletter subscribers, the Business Travel Coalition, last week published a sample letter to the Department of Transportation designed to kill support for the airlines’ so-called New Distribution Capability.
And, today IATA, the global airline trade organization, began informally circulating what an email subject line calls, “Annotating Kevin Mitchell, Business Travel Coaltion.”
The running text in the IATA document outlines the alleged falsehoods in Mitchell’s letter, which coincides with the views of many large travel agencies and global distribution systems such as Sabre and Travelport. Sabre is a supporter Mitchell’s for-profit newsletter, advocacy and consulting business, and Travelport says it has been in the past, but isn’t now.
In a nutshell, Mitchell argues that NDC is a new airline business model that violates the privacy rights of travelers, and is geared toward making airfares impossible to comprehend and compare.
IATA, on the other hand, contends that NDC has nothing to do with airfares, but enables travelers and travel agencies to better access ancillary services such as premium seats and airport lounge access that the carriers currently make available on their own websites.
Such is the way of life and tit-for-tat lobbying in Washington. Here’s the IATA document with the annotated Mitchell letter: