"No Hassle Flying Act” Would Ease Burdens on Traveling Public, International Visitors
Alexandria, VA, Dec. 13, 2012 –ASTA is praising the House of Representatives for its unanimous passage of The No-Hassle Flying Act of 2012 (S. 3542) to eliminate duplicative baggage screening for passengers arriving in the U.S. from so-called “preclearance” airports connecting to domestic flights. The bill, sponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) in the Senate and Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) in the House, had passed the Senate (also unanimously) on November 29, and now heads to President Obama’s desk.
“Travel agents sell the majority of airline tickets in the U.S. and thus have a vested interest in this legislation’s goal of maximizing the efficiency of baggage screening procedures,” said Nina Meyer, ASTA’s president and interim CEO. “The No-Hassle Flying Act presents a common-sense solution for reducing pressure on the Transportation Security Administration at a time when the country’s fiscal situation calls for the elimination of any and all wasteful government spending.”
The No-Hassle Flying Act would let the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) decide whether baggage on flights coming from foreign airports where U.S. Customs and Border Protection has established “preclearance operations” (in Canada, the Caribbean and Ireland) need to be re-screened in the United States before continuing onto another flight. TSA’s authority to make these decisions would be limited to flights originating from countries that have an agreement with the U.S. requiring security standards and protocols that are determined to be comparable to U.S. security measures.
Today, passenger flying from a preclearance airport can connect to a domestic flight without passing through security, but their bags must be rescreened. That means that passengers flying – often on short or late-night layovers – must exit security, claim their bags from baggage claim, recheck them, and go through security again.
ASTA was an active member of a broad coalition of aviation stakeholders lobbying on behalf of this legislation, including the U.S. Travel Association, Airlines for America, Airports Council International-North America, the American Association of Airport Executives, the Global Business Travel Association and others.
ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents) members represent 80 percent of all travel sold in the United States through the travel agency distribution channel. Together with hundreds of internationally based members, it is the leading global advocate for travel agents, the travel industry and the traveling public. ASTA’s history of travel industry advocacy traces back to its founding in 1931 when it launched with the mission to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. For more information, visit ASTA.org.
ASTA’s sister association, The National Association of Career Travel Agents, represents a professional community of independent travel agents ready to assist the traveling public.