The frequent flyer programs is one more thing that the federal government is about to get their hands on. Yes that means that the federal government is about to begin regulating frequent flyer programs.
Should The Government Take Over Frequent Flyer Programs?
Customers are going every which way contemplating on if it is actually a good idea to have the federal government get involved in regulating the frequent flyer program. A big question is, will the new regulations go far enough to protect air
travelers? Many program participates never end up using their frequent flyer miles and in the end feel cheated due to their mile eventually expiring before they get to use them. Other program participants feel as though the only program participates that are agreement with the government sticking their hands in yet another American concern are those that do not fully understand the program.
The DOT did an audit of these frequent flyer programs but the focus of the audit was not the anticipated perceived unfairness of the programs, the DOT focused on one question: Can you redeem your miles for an award ticket? Based on that criterion, airline loyalty programs passed the audit with flying colors. The DOT evaluation consisted of searching the American Airlines and Delta Air Lines websites to determine if award seats were available in 60 of their domestic markets. It found that 99 percent of flights had award seats available for the dates selected, with 63 percent available at the lowest redemption levels. This essentially prompted a collective shrug. “Airlines have wide latitude with the terms and conditions of their frequent flier programs,” the audit concluded.
A Change To The Frequent Flyer Program
There are definitely some positive changes arising with the way the DOT will handle these airline miles programs. The first change is to train DOT enforcement agents on what constitutes an “unfair or deceptive” practice. The department is creating a five-person frequent-flier review team within its Aviation Enforcement Division. The DOT will also put more responsibility on the airlines by changing how it processes customer complaints. Before, the agency just forwarded them to airlines. Now, it will send them to the airline and ask for the airline’s response.
Another goal that has been talked about is establishing a new rule by the end of 2018 defining reasonable notice for consumers regarding changes to frequent-flier programs’ terms and conditions, and require airlines to provide such notice. With all of these changes, do you think all will be fair and square in the airline world? Only time will tell!