ASTA is continuing to advocate for travel agents when it comes to fighting the effects of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act, one of the organization’s top priorities this year.
S. 1405 would create burdensome new disclosure regulations for travel agents as well as overturn the full-fare advertising rule, among other concerns.
In its most recent attempt to affect votes in Congress, ASTA has sent a letter illustrating its position on the bill.
“Travel advisors and agencies – whether online, brick-and-mortar or hybrid business models in between – play a critical role in our country’s commercial aviation system and the broader travel and tourism industry. Agents are responsible for the sale of the majority of air travel in the U.S., selling $86 billion worth of tickets in 155 million transactions in 2017 alone, or over 300,000 air tickets per day. We are proud to note that ASTA’s ranks include substantial numbers of member companies in South Dakota (10), Pennsylvania (196), Florida (957) and Oregon (73),” wrote ASTA’s executive vice president, advocacy, Eben Peck.
The letter points to several changes ASTA would like to see in the bill in order to make it more favorable to travel agents.
One is the adoption of the Lee Amendment, which would limit disclosures to online transactions in some cases and make them subject to the client’s request in others.
“If new consumer air travel disclosures are to be added, incorporate the language in the Lee Amendment wherever appropriate to mitigate the burden of these disclosures on the travel advisor community,” writes Peck.
The letter also requests airlines share ancillary fee data. ASTA asks that the bill require carriers to provide ancillary fee data to ticket agents who sell their product.
The letter also asks for the deletion of a section that imposes new customer service standards on ticket agents with $100 million or more in annual revenue and requests that the bill maintains the current standard of airfare transparency, which ASTA believes is in the interest of all consumers.
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