“We welcome the Department’s decision to define what constitutes a ‘canceled flight’ and ‘significant change to flight itinerary.’ These definitions will bring much-needed uniformity and clarity to what have been fraught and stressful experiences for travelers facing weather or airline staffing issues.”

Laura Chadwick, President & CEO, Travel Technology Association

In December 2022, Travel Tech submitted its comments in response to the NPRM. Travel Tech detailed its overall support for the DOT’s proposed rule but raised concerns as well. A provision of the proposed rule would require Ticket Agents to provide refunds to consumers within seven days “regardless of whether the ticket agent is in possession of the ticket purchase funds.” However, Ticket Agents, small or large, are not in a fiscal position to provide refunds without first receiving the funds back from the airlines.

Current DOT policy requires Ticket Agents to provide refunds “promptly.” No evidence was provided in the NPRM to support this change or to limit this proposed policy to only a class of smaller agents, as ACPAC voted to recommend at their January 12, 2023 public meeting.

Along with their comments, Airlines for America (A4A) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) submitted a petition for a hearing on the proposed rule. The DOT granted their petition, and it was held on March 21, 2023. Watch the hearing.

Laura Chadwick, President & CEO, of Travel Tech testified at the hearing on behalf of Travel Tech members, where she noted that “it takes up to eleven days for ticket agents to secure refunds from airlines’ payment and refund systems.” Read her testimony.


Learn about Travel Tech’s 2023 FAA Reauthorization Priorities

According to DOT’s Unified Regulatory Agenda, the Airline Ticket Refunds and Consumer Protections” Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is in “Final Rule Stage” and expected to be finalized by November 2023.

Related News