Travel agents won a voice in Congress' action on flight delays with the naming of ASTA's senior vice president for legal and industry affairs, Paul Ruden, to the Department of Transportation's National Task Force to Develop Model Contingency Plans to Deal with Lengthy Airline On-Board Ground Delays (a.k.a. Tarmac Delay Task Force). Ruden was the only member of the travel agency industry appointed to the 35-member group, which is otherwise composed of representatives from airlines, airports and consumer groups. Mary Peters, secretary of transportation, made the appointment.
"Since 1999, ASTA has been the leading industry organization backing a legislated bill of rights. In fact, ASTA's proposed Passenger Bill of Rights became a blueprint for later legislation. It is only fitting then that Paul Ruden, who was heavily involved in ASTA's early efforts on this front, be a part of this task force," said Cheryl Hudak, ASTA's president and CEO.
This will be the second DOT task force in which Ruden has participated. Previously, he sat on the Air Carrier On-Time Reporting Advisory Committee. He also was appointed by former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) to serve on the National Commission to Ensure Consumer Information and Choice in the Airline Industry.
Ruden's responsibilities for ASTA include internal and external legal activities, industry policy issues, state and federal legislation and consumer affairs. Prior to joining the association in 1990, Ruden was an attorney in Washington, D.C. for 19 years.
The DOT task force was created to develop a strategy for dealing with long ground delays nationwide. According to comments filed in the Federal Register on December 17, 2007, the task force will develop plans for minimizing the impact of such delays on passengers. The task force will also be responsible for reviewing incidents where these delays occur and identifying trends and patterns in them. Visit http://www.asta.org. (GD)