On Thursday, July 13th, Laura Chadwick, President & CEO of the Travel Technology Association, was featured alongside John Breyault from the National Consumers League in an NBC News story about efforts to repeal the Full Fare Advertising Rule. Under the current rule, the Department of Transportation (DOT) requires any advertised airfare to include the total cost to the consumer for the ticket, including all applicable government taxes/fees and any mandatory carrier-imposed surcharges. However, a provision in the House FAA Reauthorization bill would eliminate this requirement and instead allow airlines to advertise ticket prices without including government taxes and other required fees.

Chadwick and Breyault both expressed concerns over efforts to change this rule. As Chadwick stated, “You can’t comparison shop on the checkout page. It’s essential to put that information up front, the first place where consumers see the airfare.”

“Travel is expensive,” Chadwick also said. “We believe consumers should have the most information upfront so they can make effective decisions, comparison shop for the best value, and feel good about their purchases in the end.”

Read the full story here.

About Travel Tech

The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) empowers traveler choice by advocating for public policy that promotes marketplace transparency and competition. Travel Tech represents the leading innovators in travel technology, including global distribution systems, online travel agencies, metasearch companies, travel management companies, and short-term rental platforms.

To schedule an interview with a Travel Tech spokesperson, contact Dan Rene of kglobal at 202-329-8357 or daniel.rene@kglobal.com.

New Staff Members Added to Lead Advocacy, Support Membership Growth

[Arlington, VA] [July 13, 2023] – The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech), the voice of the travel technology industry and consistent advocate for public policy that supports a competitive and transparent marketplace, has hired Nicole Brewin and Bethany Reitsma to support its public policy advocacy and membership growth initiatives.

Brewin joins Travel Tech from the Railway Supply Institute (RSI), where she led its government affairs practice for over two decades. In that capacity, Brewin built RSI’s advocacy program into the organization’s largest team, secured historic investment levels for rail grants in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), and created its Political Action Committee, where she tripled its annual fundraising efforts. Prior to her work at RSI, Brewin worked as a Legislative Assistant for Congressman Peter Visclosky (IN-01.)

“I am so pleased to welcome Nicole to Travel Tech. Not only is she a transportation policy pro, Nicole is also an expert in working closely with trade association member companies. I look forward to working with her to expand Travel Tech’s advocacy efforts to empower traveler choice and support our growing membership.”

Bethany Reitsma is Travel Tech’s new Industry Relations Manager. Reitsma manages marketing, communications, and public policy projects and supports the association’s membership growth initiatives. Prior to joining Travel Tech in February, Reitsma worked for the XR Association as its Marketing & Membership Coordinator, where she led membership recruitment efforts, developed and executed its grassroots advocacy strategy, and co-managed member communications.

“While innovations, advancements, and change are to be expected in the world of travel technology, our Association’s commitment to promoting transparency and competition through education and advocacy remains consistent,” Chadwick said. “Travel Tech supports its members to address both policy changes and challenges. I am excited to lead Travel Tech with Nicole and Bethany by my side.”

Brewin holds a bachelor’s degree in political science & history from Marymount University. Reitsma earned her bachelor’s degree in politics & philosophy at Washington & Lee University.

About Travel Tech

The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) empowers traveler choice by advocating for public policy that promotes marketplace transparency and competition. Travel Tech represents the leading innovators in travel technology, including online travel agencies, metasearch engines, short-term rental platforms, global distribution systems, and travel management companies. 

Travel Tech’s Brand Refresh Keeps Industry Leaders and Policymakers Informed and Engaged

[Arlington, VA] [July 12, 2023] – The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech), the voice of the travel technology industry and consistent advocate for public policy that supports a competitive and transparent marketplace, announced today the launch of its new website. The site features a new, modernized Travel Tech logo, in-depth policy briefs on Travel Tech priority issues, and a new Policy Action Center, which provides industry members with a tool to communicate directly with their elected representatives.

“Right now, in Washington, DC and states across the country, policymakers are debating policies that directly impact the travel technology industry,” said Travel Tech CEO and President Laura Chadwick. “Travel Tech’s new website highlights the critical advocacy work we lead on topics like ancillary fees, airline refunds, price transparency, short-term rentals, customer reviews, and more. I welcome industry members to learn more at www.traveltech.org and get involved with our efforts to empower traveler choice and protect travel tech innovation.”

In addition to the site and its new features, Travel Tech is relaunching its Passport Newsletter on a weekly basis to keep industry leaders up-to-date on current and emerging policy issues facing the travel tech industry. In addition to the latest about Travel Tech and its advocacy, Passport Newsletter will offer a news digest of the top stories at the intersection of travel, technology, and public policy. To subscribe, click here: https://traveltech.org/subscribe/

Travel Tech’s new Policy Action Center features its inaugural “Action Alert” asking industry members to tell their member of Congress to co-sponsor H.R. 3780, the ACPAC Modernization Act, which would add “Ticket Agents” to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee (ACPAC). This is one of Travel Tech’s major priorities for the FAA Reauthorization, legislation that must pass Congress by September 30th.

Congresswoman Dina Titus (D, NV-01) and Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R, FL-12), chairs of the House Travel & Tourism Caucus, along with Rep. Marc Molinaro (R, NY-19), Rep. John Garamendi (D, CA-08), and Rep. Julia Brownley (D, CA-26), introduced H.R. 3780, the ACPAC Modernization Act on June 1st.

About Travel Tech

The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) empowers choice by advocating for public policy promoting marketplace transparency and competition. Travel Tech represents the leading innovators in travel technology, including global distribution systems, online travel agencies, metasearch companies, travel management companies, and short-term rental platforms.

To schedule an interview with a Travel Tech spokesperson, contact Dan Rene of kglobal at 202-329-8357 or daniel.rene@kglobal.com.

Travel Tech President & CEO Laura Chadwick recently shared her thoughts on how trade associations can build community to enhance their advocacy work in an Association 100 video
 
“When I think about ROI for the Travel Tech Association,” said Chadwick, “no doubt we want to be that force in advocacy … but I’m also thinking about community and how can we bring people together.” 
 
Find the full interview on YouTube, where Ms. Chadwick also addressed efforts to reaffirm the mission, vision, and values of an association and the keys to successful association leadership. 

Key Provisions Impacting the Travel Technology Industry Included

The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech), the voice of the travel technology industry and consistent advocate for public policy that supports a competitive and transparent marketplace, applauds the introduction of the House and Senate’s FAA Reauthorization bills.

“We thank the leaders of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee for their exceptional efforts on the FAA Reauthorization. Travel Tech released its top priorities for this legislation earlier this year. Both bills feature key provisions that we expressly advocated for to better support travelers and the Travel Tech member companies that serve them,” stated Laura Chadwick, president, and CEO of Travel Tech.

The House legislation includes critical language relating to the refund obligations of ticket agents, a top Travel Tech priority. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), in its proposed Airline Ticket Refunds and Consumer Protections rulemaking released late last year, sought to require ticket agents to make refunds to customers within seven days, even if the funds had not yet been returned by the airline. Travel Tech successfully advocated for bill language that would require a refund only when such ticket agent possesses, or has access to, the funds of a passenger.

“Simply put: our members can only refund what they have in their possession. The DOT’s proposed rule on the timing of refunds places ticket agents in a precarious financial position, no matter their size, having to make refunds without first receiving the customers’ funds back from airlines. We are glad the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee heard us and included this sensible provision in their draft bill. We will work hard to ensure this provision and our other priorities are included in the final legislation passed by Congress.”

The House version of the FAA Reauthorization legislation will also add a “ticket agent” representative to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee (ACPAC). Last week, Reps. Dina Titus (D-NV), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), John Garamendi (D-CA), Marc Molinaro (R-NY), and Julia Brownley (D-CA), introduced standalone legislation, H.R. 3780 — the ACPAC Modernization Act, to do the same.

“We’re pleased to be included as a formal representative on ACPAC as well the new Passenger Experience Advisory Committee,” Chadwick said. “This recognition of the travel technology industry’s unique expertise comes at a critical time and reinforces the pivotal role our members contribute to enhancing the travel experience.”

“We are also grateful to see our point of view on ancillary fee display flexibility affirmed in the Senate legislation. Our members are the pioneers in consistently supporting consumer access to information to allow them to make informed decisions and know the total costs involved as they make travel plans,” stated Chadwick.

Earlier this year, Travel Tech submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation on their proposed “Enhancing Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees” rulemaking. Travel Tech also filed a hearing petition to challenge the DOT’s requirement in the rule to display the critical ancillary fee information on the first page of online search results, and presented key public opinion survey results to support their position.

About Travel Tech

The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) empowers traveler choice by advocating for public policy that promotes marketplace transparency and competition. Travel Tech represents the leading innovators in travel technology, including global distribution systems, online travel agencies, metasearch companies, travel management companies, and short-term rental platforms.

To schedule an interview with a Travel Tech spokesperson, contact Dan Rene of kglobal at 202-329-8357 or daniel.rene@kglobal.com.

On Monday, June 5th, the Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech), launched its new Travel Tech Policy Action Center to offer industry members a means to communicate directly with their elected representatives and show support for key Travel Tech public policy priorities.

The inaugural action asks industry members to tell their member of Congress to co-sponsor H.R. 3780, the ACPAC Modernization Act, which would add “Ticket Agents” to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee (ACPAC). This is one of Travel Tech’s major priorities for the FAA Reauthorization legislation that must pass Congress by September 30th.

Congresswoman Dina Titus (D, NV-01) and Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R, FL-12), chairs of the House Travel & Tourism Caucus, along with Rep. Marc Molinaro (R, NY-19), Rep. John Garamendi (D, CA-08), and Rep. Julia Brownley (D, CA-26), introduced H.R. 3780, the ACPAC Modernization Act on June 1st.

About Travel Tech

The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) empowers traveler choice by advocating for public policy that promotes marketplace transparency and competition. Travel Tech represents the leading innovators in travel technology, including global distribution systems, online travel agencies, metasearch companies, travel management companies, and short-term rental platforms.

To schedule an interview with a Travel Tech spokesperson, contact Dan Rene of kglobal at 202-329-8357 or daniel.rene@kglobal.com.

ACPAC Modernization Act Will Benefit Consumers and Lead to Better DOT Policy

The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech), the voice of the travel technology industry and consistent advocate for public policy that supports a competitive and transparent marketplace, applauds the introduction of legislation today that would add ticket agent representatives to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee (ACPAC).

The legislation, introduced by Reps. Dina Titus (D-NV), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), John Garamendi (D-CA), Marc Molinaro (R-NY) and Julia Brownley (D-CA), would allow ACPAC to garner the unique and critical perspectives of ticket agents who support millions U.S. of travelers.

It’s why earlier this year, Travel Tech stated its primary policy priority as part of the FAA Reauthorization Act was to have Congress “amend the law to add a Ticket Agent representative to ACPAC to expand its industry knowledge base and improve the quality of its recommendations, ultimately benefiting consumers.” The term “Ticket Agent” is defined in law as “a person (except an air carrier, a foreign air carrier, or an employee of an air carrier or foreign air carrier) that as a principal or agent sells, offers for sale, negotiates for, or holds itself out as selling, providing, or arranging for, air transportation.” (49 U.S.C. § 40102(a)(45)).

In response to the introduction of this important legislation, Laura Chadwick, president CEO of Travel Tech, stated:

“On behalf of Travel Tech’s membership, I am grateful to Rep. Dina Titus and Rep. Gus Bilirakis, chairs of the House Travel & Tourism Caucus, along with Reps. John Garamendi, Marco Molinaro, and Susan Brownley for introducing the ACPAC Modernization Act. By adding ticket agents to the US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee (ACPAC), Congress will better equip the advisory committee to address growing airline customer service issues.

Online ticket agents sell approximately 50% of all airline tickets to consumers every year, putting them in the distinctive position to share a deep knowledge and understanding of refunds, ancillary fees, and cutting-edge technology. Our important perspective has been missing at ACPAC. The technical expertise and long-standing commitment to innovation by Travel Tech members will strengthen efforts to support airline customers.”

ACPAC represents the nearly 700 million airline passengers that fly in the U.S. each year. Unlike many other federal consumer-focused advisory groups, the committee is currently comprised of just four members – an air carrier representative, an airport operator, a state or local government representative, and a consumer advocate.

About Travel Tech

The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) empowers traveler choice by advocating for public policy that promotes marketplace transparency and competition. Travel Tech represents the leading innovators in travel technology, including global distribution systems, online travel agencies, metasearch companies, travel management companies, and short-term rental platforms.

To schedule an interview with a Travel Tech spokesperson, contact Dan Rene of kglobal at 202-329-8357 or daniel.rene@kglobal.com.

On Tuesday, May 16th, Laura Chadwick, Travel Tech’s President & CEO, served as a panelist on airline consumer protections at the Consumer Assembly event hosted by the Consumer Federation of America. Chadwick spoke alongside panelists Heather Ansley, Associate Executive Director of Government Relations at the Paralyzed Veterans of America, and John Breyault, Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications and Fraud at the National Consumers League, and moderator Lori Aratani, reporter at the Washington Post. Chadwick acknowledged the pandemic’s exacerbating effect on pre-existing issues for air travel consumers and shared how Travel Tech works to solve these issues by advocating for public policy that supports transparency and competition to empower traveler choice. Chadwick detailed Travel Tech’s efforts to educate policymakers about ticket agent concerns regarding the U.S. Department of Transportation’s ongoing rulemakings on ancillary fees and refunds and the upcoming FAA reauthorization by Congress.

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About Travel Tech

The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) empowers traveler choice by advocating for public policy promoting marketplace transparency and competition. Travel Tech represents the leading innovators in travel technology, including global distribution systems, online travel agencies, metasearch companies, travel management companies, and short-term rental platforms.

To schedule an interview with a Travel Tech spokesperson, contact Dan Rene of kglobal at 202-329-8357 or daniel.rene@kglobal.com.

At the recent U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) hearing on its proposed “Enhancing Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees” regulation, Laura Chadwick, Travel Tech President and CEO, submitted a coalition letter signed by U.S. Travel, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), Hopper, and Sabre to express their shared concerns about the proposed rule’s first-page search results requirement. Chadwick noted during her testimony that this letter demonstrates “in one document the many stakeholders who take issue with this part of the proposed rule.” Recently, the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) joined this letter as a signatory as well.

Across their written comments to the Department, these organizations detailed how the mandatory inclusion of ancillary fee information on the first-page of search results would negatively impact consumers. In the letter submitted by Chadwick, they collectively ask the Department to allow for flexibility and innovation in how ancillary fee information is presented to consumers so long as it is early in the purchase process.

Read the full letter.

Federal Advisory Committee Lacks Ticket Agent Representative

The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) submitted supplemental comments regarding the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) proposed “Enhancing Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees” rulemaking. In these comments, Travel Tech provided its response to the recommendations made by the Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee and recent survey findings cited by Laura Chadwick, Travel Tech President & CEO, during the Department’s recent hearing on the proposed rule.

In its supplemental filing, Travel Tech responded to ACPAC’s recommendations regarding the DOT’s proposed rules on ancillary fees; GDS access to ancillary fee information; change and cancellation rules; data sharing; and proposed compliance timeline. You can read Travel Tech’s supplemental filing here.

“Travel Tech welcomes every opportunity to share our knowledge about empowering traveler choice in written comments, presentations, meetings, testifying, and beyond,” said Chadwick. “Our member companies are the foremost experts in supporting millions of consumers every year in their travel planning. The input we provide is not only effective but technically feasible too. It will lead to better travel experiences for all.”

The DOT’s Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee (“ACPAC”) convened on January 12, 2023, to make recommendations on the Department’s “Enhancing Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees” rulemaking. Membership of ACPAC is limited by law to four representatives: an air carrier representative; an airport operator; a law enforcement officer; and a consumer advocate.

Travel Tech continues to advocate that a Ticket Agent representative be added to the membership of ACPAC. Doing so will expand the advisory committee’s industry knowledge base and improve the quality of its recommendations. In a recent white paper on its 2023 FAA Reauthorization priorities, Travel Tech advocates that Congress amend the law governing ACPAC membership.

“New ideas and perspectives are needed right now to improve airline travel for consumers. Ticket agents, which include online ticket agents and metasearch engines represented by Travel Tech, can offer ACPAC deep technical expertise and long-standing commitment to innovation,” said Chadwick.

About Travel Tech

The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) empowers traveler choice by advocating for public policy that promotes marketplace transparency and competition. Travel Tech represents the leading innovators in travel technology, including global distribution systems, online travel agencies, metasearch companies, travel management companies, and short-term rental platforms.

To schedule an interview with a Travel Tech spokesperson, contact Dan Rene of kglobal at 202-329-8357 or daniel.rene@kglobal.com

Travel Tech Submits Supplementary Comments on Ancillary Fee Rulemaking

Travel Tech Supports Travel Management Company Members Ahead of FAA Reauthorization Vote

April 01, 2024

April 1, 2024 – Travel Tech, together with the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) and the Travel Management Coalition, sent letters to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the U.S. House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure to highlight the provisions in the House and Senate FAA Reauthorization bills that apply […]