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ASTA Applauds Inclusion of Top Priorities in FAA Reauthorization Bill


Alexandria, VA –Today, the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) is applauding the inclusion of several of ASTA’s top priorities in legislation released by the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other federal aviation programs through 2028. 

“The FAA reauthorization legislation released by the committee today includes many of the provisions ASTA has been advocating for on behalf of our members since the beginning of the year and in some cases far longer,” said Zane Kerby, ASTA President & CEO. “We applaud committee leadership and staff for their diligent work in putting this bill together and for being responsive to the concerns of travel advisors in their districts and across the country. The bill is evidence that policymakers recognize the invaluable role travel advisors play in the larger travel and tourism ecosystem while serving as a key voice for consumers.” 

The legislation, officially titled the “Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act,” includes the following provisions supported by ASTA, many of which reflect the policy priorities submitted to the committee earlier this year: 

—Clarifies Travel Agency Refund Obligations – The bill makes clear that the travel agency’s obligation to issue a client refund is limited to scenarios where it is in possession of the funds in question – “a ticket agent shall provide a refund only when such ticket agent possesses, or has access to, the funds of a passenger.” This is responsive to ASTA’s main concern with regard to a separate, pending U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) rulemaking on airline refunds – that under certain circumstances travel agencies will be required to pay refunds to clients for cancelled or significantly changed flights out of pocket, regardless of whether or not the agency is in possession of the client’s funds.

—Adds a Travel Agency Seat to DOT Consumer Protection Advisory Committee – The bill incorporates the text of the Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee (ACPAC) Modernization Act (H.R. 3780), a bipartisan bill introduced earlier this month by Reps. Dina Titus (D-NV), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), John Garamendi (D-CA), Marc Molinaro (R-NY) and Julia Brownley (D-CA) and strongly supported by ASTA. It will expand the ACPAC’s membership by adding a dedicated travel agency seat on this key advisory body within DOT, bringing valuable insights that are missing today and helping the Department meet its consumer protection mission.

—Streamlines Disclosures in Offline Ticket Transactions – The bill requires DOT to implement a streamlined system for fulfilling consumer disclosure requirements during “offline” transactions (over-the-phone, face-to-face) within 18 months of the bill’s enactment. Helping advisors manage the impact of the up to seven disclosures per transaction advisors are required by law and regulation to make today when selling air tickets is an issue ASTA has been working on since at least 2017 and this streamlined system was identified as a priority in our request to Congress earlier this year. As we stated, “The goal of such a system would be to accommodate both existing and new disclosure requirements implemented by DOT or Congress without unduly affecting our members’ business operations or undermining the Department’s consumer protection mandate.”

—Creates New Consumer Advisory Committee, including Travel Agencies - In addition to changes made to the membership of the ACPAC, the bill would create a new “Passenger Experience Advisory Committee” at DOT, with a seat set aside for ticket agents among its membership. The goal of the committee would be to advise the Secretary of Transportation on ways to improve the passenger experience in air transportation customer service, via biennial reports. 

“While we recognize that the FAA reauthorization process is far from over, ASTA commends Chairman Graves, Ranking Member Larsen and their colleagues on the committee for drafting a comprehensive, bipartisan bill while incorporating essential stakeholder feedback. We urge the committee to maintain the ticket agent provisions in the markup process, and further urge the Senate to follow the House’s lead in this area,” Kerby concluded.  

The full text of the introduced legislation can be found here. The committee is expected to consider the bill next week, after which time it will advance to the House floor. Current FAA programs expire on September 30, 2023. 




Rebranded in 2018 as the American Society of Travel Advisors, ASTA is the leading global advocate for travel advisors, the travel industry and the traveling public. Its 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, ASTA’s history of 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 about the Society, visit our mission statement.  




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