Association Puts Forth Recommendations to the Senate That Reflect Ticket Agents’ Role in the Travel Marketplace

February 8, 2024 – The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) submitted a letter to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation concerning S. 1939, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2023. The letter provides recommendations for the committee to consider ahead of the bill’s markup, including:

  1. Sec. 701: Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection. Travel Tech supports Senator Rosen’s amendment incorporated into the Manager’s Amendment that adds Ticket Agents to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection. Currently, Ticket Agents are the largest travel industry segment not represented on this key advisory committee.
  2. Sec. 703: Refunds. Ticket Agents should only be required to provide a refund when such ticket agent possesses, or have access to, the funds of a Passenger. Travel Tech asks that the Senate amend S.1939 by replacing the current language with the House-passed provision.
  3. Refund portal. Many Ticket Agents offer services beyond airfare comparison shopping and booking on their sites. Requiring them to place a refund link exclusively for airline refunds at the top of their public internet website, as the legislation currently does, will likely cause confusion among consumers seeking refunds for hotel, car rental, or tour operators. The Committee should amend this provision to achieve its intended goals.
  4. Disclosure of Ancillary Fees. Travel Tech strongly supports Sec. 705 as it provides Ticket Agents and air carriers flexibility in the design of appropriate displays of ancillary fees. Travel Tech also strongly supports that an additional provision should be added to Sec. 705 to continue to recognize the distinction between ticket agents that provide services pursuant to a corporate or government contract and other types of ticket agents. 

“We urge the Committee to adopt our recommendations to support travelers and the Travel Tech member companies that serve them,” said Laura Chadwick, President and CEO of 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 travel technology innovators ranging from dynamic startups, small, and midsize businesses to leading online travel agencies, metasearch engines, short-term rental platforms, global distribution systems, and travel management companies.

To schedule an interview with a Travel Tech spokesperson, contact Bradford Williamson of Glen Echo Group at 202.870.3234 or bwilliamson@glenechogroup.com.

Ahead of the return of Congress to Washington, D.C. next week, Travel Tech has met with U.S. Senate offices to discuss the airline refund obligations of ticket agents. Late last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), in its proposed Airline Ticket Refunds and Consumer Protections rulemaking, sought to require ticket agents to refund customers within seven days, even if the airline had not yet returned the funds.

Travel Tech successfully advocated for bill language included in the U.S. House of Representatives-passed FAA Reauthorization 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,” said Laura Chadwick, president & CEO of Travel Tech. 

“We were pleased the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee heard us and included this sensible provision in their bill,” Chadwick continued. “We are continuing our efforts to secure a similar provision in the U.S. Senate’s FAA Reauthorization.”

As it stands today, the authorization for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will expire on September 30, 2023. The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has not yet considered or cleared its FAA Reauthorization legislation due to an ongoing impasse over pilot training requirements.

Travel Tech president and CEO Laura Chadwick testified at the DOT’s Public Hearing today on Airline Ticket Refunds and Consumer Protections. Her remarks are below:

Thank you for the opportunity to speak today on the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on “Airline Ticket Refunds and Consumer Protections.”

My name is Laura Chadwick and I lead the Travel Technology Association. Travel Tech is the voice of the travel technology industry, advocating for public policy that promotes transparency and competition in the marketplace to encourage innovation and preserve consumer choice. Travel Tech represents the leading innovators in travel technology, including global distribution systems, online travel agencies and metasearch companies, travel management companies, and short-term rental platforms.

As we wrote in our comments, Travel Tech welcomes 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. Great customer service, whether before, during, or after a trip, is key to the value Travel Tech members offer. These definitions will help online travel agents better support their customers in navigating frustrating flight cancellations and the labyrinth of airline customer service systems.

With regard to the question at hand — how to determine whether a downgrade of amenities or travel experiences qualifies as a “significant change of flight itinerary,” I must note that Travel Tech did not in its comments address this particular point. We are, however, and as I noted previously, very supportive of the DOT’s efforts to provide uniformity and clarity over what triggers a refund. This helps ticket agents help their customers. That being said, we do find merit in the issues raised by the airlines in their comments and at this hearing over the inherent difficulty in determining whether a downgrade of amenities or travel experiences constitutes a “significant change of flight itinerary.”

Ticket agents rely on the airlines to make refunds or credit determinations. Ticket agents, in essence, enforce airlines’ decisions on these matters. As such, confusion over what a downgrade of amenities or travel experiences qualifies as a “significant change of flight itinerary” by airlines will likewise create confusion for ticket agents in explaining these determinations to customers.

I do also want to take a moment to address Travel Tech’s concerns about the change included in the proposed rule regarding the timing of refunds to customers by ticket agents. In its draft rule, the Department proposes that customers receive refunds within seven days. However, it takes up to eleven days for ticket agents to secure refunds from airlines’ payment and refund systems.

To require refunds before the funds are returned by the airline – as the proposed rule currently demands – would impose an undue financial burden and risk on ticket agents. We encourage the Department to revise this part of its proposal to reflect that airlines’ payment and refund systems are beyond the control of ticket agents.

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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.

Travel Technology Association Advocates for Airlines and Ticket Agents to Issue Refunds as Required

[Arlington, VA] [December  19, 2022] – The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech), the voice of the travel technology industry and a consistent advocate for public policy that supports a competitive and transparent marketplace, filed comments today in response to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on “Airline Ticket Refunds and Consumer Protections,” – Docket No. DOT-OST-2022-0089.

“On behalf of consumers and our member companies that serve them, the Travel Technology Association is proud to stand with the U.S. Department of Transportation in assuring once and for all that airline travelers are made whole when their flights are canceled,” said Travel Tech President and CEO Laura Chadwick. “You get what you pay for, and when you don’t, you should get your money back.”

“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,” Chadwick continued. “Great customer service, whether before, during, or after a trip, is key to the value Travel Tech members offer. These definitions will help online travel agents better support their customers navigating frustrating flight cancellations and the labyrinth of airline customer service systems.”

View the Travel Technology Association’s full comments.

In its comments, the Travel Technology Association explains that ticket agents are already bound to issue refunds “promptly” after airlines provide the authorization and funds to do so. In its draft rule, the Department proposes that customers receive refunds within seven days. However, it takes up to eleven days to secure refunds from airlines’ payment and refund systems.

“To require refunds before the funds are returned by the airline – as the proposed rule currently demands – would impose an undue financial burden and risk on ticket agents. We encourage the Department to revise this part of its proposal to reflect that airlines’ payment and refund systems are beyond the control of ticket agents.”

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About Travel Tech

The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) is the voice of the travel technology industry, advocating for public policy that promotes transparency and competition in the marketplace to encourage innovation and preserve consumer choice. Travel Tech represents the leading innovators in travel technology, including global distribution systems, online travel agencies and 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 Technology Association Advocates to Provide Consumers Transparency, and Options

Laura Chadwick, President and CEO of the Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech), the voice of the travel technology industry, advocating for public policy that promotes transparency and competition in the marketplace to encourage innovation and preserve consumer choice, issued the following Thanksgiving Day holiday message:

“Despite the challenges of inflation, demand for travel remains high. After the last several years spent apart, families and friends want to be together this Thanksgiving and for the upcoming holidays. Perhaps more so than ever before, we appreciate the value of in-person connections and experiences. Travel Tech member companies – including the leading online travel agents, metasearch platforms, travel management companies, global distribution systems, and short-term rental platforms – provide essential tools and services to help consumers get the most out of their travel dollars.

Undoubtedly, travel during the holidays will be challenged by weather and ongoing staffing issues at airlines. Travel Tech supports the U.S. Department of Transportation’s common-sense efforts to ensure travelers receive timely refunds for canceled flights and can access information ahead of time about ever-expanding airline fees, including the costs for families to sit together with their kids. While these matters are complicated and require flexibility in implementation, Travel Tech members strongly believe these are the right policies to protect travelers.

As we look ahead to 2023, the world’s leading online travel agents, metasearch platforms, travel management companies, global distribution systems, and short-term rental platforms continue to lead the way by putting traveler choice first, facilitating and maintaining a consumer-friendly marketplace. Bringing consumers the best booking options and purchase protections for their trip to reunite with their families and friends is something we can all be thankful for this year and beyond.”

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About Travel Tech

The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) is the voice of the travel technology industry, advocating for public policy that promotes transparency and competition in the marketplace to encourage innovation and preserve consumer choice. Travel Tech represents the leading innovators in travel technology, including global distribution systems, online travel agencies and 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 Technology Leaders Provide Value as Holiday Travel Demand Rises

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