The House and Senate released a final agreement on Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization legislation over the weekend, and the final bill includes no additional mandated disclosures for travel agents.
“We applaud the leadership of the Congressional transportation committees for listening to the views of ASTA and its members and not imposing new and unwarranted disclosure obligations on the travel advisor community in this compromise bill,” said American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) President and CEO Zane Kerby in a statement provided to Travel Agent. “These would have imposed an economic burden of close to $30 million a year on our members, ranging from reprogramming systems to training staff to ‘talk time’ and opportunity costs from lost sales. In particular, we want to thank Senator Mike Lee of Utah for his work to undo the worst of these proposals.”
The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, which moved into reconciliation last week, had included a number of issues that concerned ASTA, including a total of seven new, mandated disclosure requirements for travel agents. These ranged from disclosures regarding insecticide spraying to a requirement that travel agents disclose airline fees to their customers without requiring airlines to provide fee data to travel agents. These provisions are absent from the final bill.
The final bill also includes a number of new provisions that are relevant to travel agents and the traveling public. The bill maintains the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) full-fare advertising rule, which requires advertised airfares to prominently state the full and final price to be paid y the consumer, including all government-imposed taxes and fees. Other provisions include banning in-flight voice calls, setting minimum standards for seat size and legroom, and a prohibition on involuntarily bumping passengers who have already boarded.