Open Allies Antitrust Policy Statement
It is the policy of Open Allies (sometimes referred to as the “Coalition”) to strictly adhere to the antitrust laws of United States and the individual states. This means that Open Allies and its members, when participating in Coalition affairs, will conform to the letter of law and also conduct themselves in conformity with the highest ethical standards and refrain from conduct that might give even the appearance of having engaged in any improper or anticompetitive conduct.
Set forth below is a list of principles and policies that will govern the behavior of Open Allies and, in so far as they are participating in Open Allies activities, its members. This list of principles and policies is not intended to specifically address every act that might come too close to, or even cross, an ethical or antitrust line. Nor is this list intended to provide any individual or member with the means to act as his or its own attorney. Rather, the purpose of this document is to alert the recipients with the nature of the activities that could possibly raise antitrust concerns so that those activities can be avoided. The goal is to assist our employees, agents, and members in recognizing situations that may have anticompetitive implications so that counsel can be consulted and guidance obtained before any conduct that is even arguably improper is undertaken.
If any recipient of this Policy Statement has any questions, they should be addressed to counsel for the Coalition or counsel for the pertinent member. Do not proceed with any questionable conduct unless and until counsel and the Coalition have been contacted and the conduct is approved.
Please read this Policy Statement carefully. It is the responsibility of each Open Allies employee and member that these principles are known and followed in connection with all Open Allies activities. Any employee or agent of Open Allies who knowingly participates in any anticompetitive conduct will be discharged. Any member who knowingly participates in any anticompetitive conduct while engaged in Open Allies activities will be removed from Open Allies membership.
Antitrust Principles and Policies
- It is the policy of Open Allies to ensure that independent legal counsel is engaged by the Coalition to help ensure that all parties act appropriately in connection with Open Allies meetings, telephone conferences, other communications, dealings and activities;
- It is the policy of Open Allies to ensure close review and monitoring by its counsel of the conduct of its employees and members when they participate in Open Allies activities, including membership recruitment, communicating with the media, communicating with the public, or advocating before private and/or governmental groups or agencies. All such activities must be consistent with and not exceed the public advocacy, informational and educational mission of Open Allies;
- It is the strict policy of Open Allies that its employees, agents and members, when they are engaging in Open Allies activity, must refrain from participating in any discussion or entering into any commitment, agreement or understanding, whether explicit or implicit, concerning concerted or coordinated business activity directed at the business of any specific entity or airline, and that any such coordinated business activity be scrupulously avoided;
- It is the policy of Open Allies that its employees, agents and members, when participating in Open Allies activities, must refrain from discussing the strategies or business plans of any member concerning the commercial relationships between that member and any airline or industry participant, including consumers, or the sharing of any competitively sensitive information;
- It is the policy of Open Allies that its employees, agents and members, when participating in Open Allies activities, must refrain from entering into any discussions or making any commitments, agreements, or understandings, whether explicit or implicit, which concern the price of any product or service sold by any member; or the allocation of any market to or among any member or members; or the coordination among any members of the business activity of those members so as to reduce, chill or injure competition;
- It is the purpose of Open Allies to engage in public advocacy and educational activities so that consumers and travel industry participants understand and appreciate the competitive benefits of transparent pricing and the consumers’ ability to engage in comparative price shopping without having to incur significant information gathering costs. Open Allies will withdraw from or object to any conduct undertaken by any member while participating in an Open Allies activity that appears to fall outside of the scope of its public advocacy, informational and educational mission;
- It is the policy of Open Allies that each of its members continue to act unilaterally with respect to the relations or business dealings between that member and any airline or other industry participant and not discuss with any other member any action(s) that the member may take or refrain from taking with regard to a business relationship between the member and any airline(s). This prohibition on concerted activity specifically extends to the relationship between any member and any airline affecting issues such as screen bias, booking fees, the decision to book passengers for travel on that airline versus another or the decision whether or not to establish a direct connect link to the airline.
- It is the policy of Open Allies that whenever an employee, agent or member of Open Allies communicates with any potential new member that Open Allies be described only as a public advocacy, informational and educational organization. Potential new members should not be led to believe that Open Allies or its members will organize or participate in any concerted business activity directed at any entity or airline.
- All Open Allies meetings and conference calls should be preceded by the circulation of an agenda;
- Finally, it is important to note that any conduct by a member or members that could be construed as organizing or promoting a refusal to deal with or a boycott of any airline(s) (whether engaged in direct connect activities or not) threatens to undermine Open Allies’ mission and place it and its members at risk. It is therefore important that Open Allies and its members be vigilant in avoiding even the appearance of improper or anticompetitive conduct. Open Allies employees, agents and members should remind each other of Open Allies’ limited goals and of the conduct that should be avoided.
Thank you for carefully reading these Principles and Policies.