'Mad about airline fees' effort soaring

The people are speaking out about airline fees.

Perhaps it was our post on this blog two weeks ago about the launch of the "we're mad as hell about airline fees" campaign that caused it to go viral. (Check out the Web site at  www.MadAsHellAboutHiddenFees.com ) Perhaps it was the steady trickle of news articles and blog posts about the effort, aimed at convincing federal regulators to get tough in its current rulemaking that would make airlines disclose more information about fees before we pay for a ticket. And perhaps -- and this is what really has happened -- it's that a well-organized campaign, based on valid complaints, can really strike a nerve when it's about a pocketbook issue, and fairness.

Today, the New York Times travel blog caught  up with the campaign, which has been led by the Business Travel Coalition, the American Society of Travel Agents and the Consumer Travel Alliance. Other bloggers have been offering links all week. On Monday, representatives of the three groups met with Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, presenting him with a letter of support from 300 consumer organizations, all of them calling for DOT to write the rules it's proposed on making fee information transparent. The National Business Travel Association (www.nbta.org) added its voice today in its own filing with DOT on this and other consumer issues. The deadline is Thursday for commenting on the proposed rules to DOT.

I will read some of the DOT filings in the next few days to try to provide a broad picture of what people are saying about fees and how airlines should disclose them. And check back here Thursday morning for a tally on how many people, companies or groups signed the "mad as hell" petition. Trust me, it's going to be a bunch.