On Wednesday, May 8th, Travel Tech hosted airline industry attorneys Jol A. Silversmith and Barbara Marrin of KMA Zuckert to outline the “Top 7 Takeaways on the New U.S. DOT Ancillary Fee and Refunds Rules.”

As discussed in the webinar, both rules have serious implications for both large and small travel technology businesses.

Did you miss the live webinar but still want to learn more about how these new rules will impact your business?

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Disclaimer: The Travel Technology Association is providing this webinar and the accompanying document as educational materials and not as legal advice. You must consult your own legal counsel for specific interpretation and applicability of these rules to you or your company.

Monday, April 29, 2024 — Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced its final regulations on the transparency of airline ancillary service fees and refunds to customers for delayed and canceled flights.

What do the rules mean and how will they impact your business?

Join Travel Tech on Wednesday, May 8th, 2024, at 1:00 pm for a free webinar featuring airline industry attorneys Jol A. Silversmith and Barbara Marrin of KMA Zuckert.

Register Today

Airline industry attorneys Jol A. Silversmith and Barbara Marrin will outline the top seven takeaways about these new regulations and answer your questions. Following the webinar, all registrants will receive a written memo about these seven takeaways.

April 24, 2024 — Today, the Department of Transportation issued two final rules impacting the travel tech industry: the transparency of airline ancillary service fees and refunds of airline tickets for delayed or canceled flights.

“Travel Tech has long supported the Department of Transportation’s goals to provide greater transparency to airline consumers on ancillary fees and clear guidelines on how and when refunds are made. Regrettably, today’s final rules fail to account for how these goals can technically be achieved, adding unnecessary costs and confusion for consumers,” said Laura Chadwick, President & CEO of the Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech).

In its ancillary fee comments, Travel Tech strongly advocated that airlines be required to provide critical ancillary fee information to all ticket agents and intermediaries, including GDSs, and not only to consumer-facing ticket agents as proposed by the Department of Transportation. Many ticket agents rely on GDSs to access airline schedules, fares, and availability information. Unfortunately, in the final ancillary fee rule, the Department declined to alter its proposal.

“Unfortunately, by not including GDSs, the very purpose of this rulemaking will be undermined, making it harder for ticket agents to inform consumers about the cost of ancillary services,” said Chadwick. “Had airlines been required to provide ancillary fee data to all ticket agents, transparency for consumers could have been achieved in months, not years. Consumer advocates cited this reason in their comments for supporting Travel Tech’s position.”

The Department’s final refund rule requires airlines and ticket agents (when acting as the merchant of record) to provide refunds to consumers within seven business days. While the rule requires airlines to notify ticket agents “without delay” when a consumer is eligible for a refund, it will still create situations in which ticket agents must provide refunds without first receiving the consumers’ funds back from the airlines.

“The final refund rule will render ticket agents as airlines’ de facto banks, forcing agents to float airlines’ refunds potentially indefinitely. Doing so unfairly places ticket agents in a precarious financial position that risks their ability to provide comparison shopping tools for consumers in the first place.”

The Travel Technology Association calls on Congress to pass its FAA reauthorization legislation. House and Senate versions of the bill include provisions supported by Travel Tech that provide sensible relief from some aspects of the Department’s final ancillary fee and refund rules.


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.

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 to Travel Management Companies (TMCs) and request amendments and exemptions.

Services provided by contract to TMC customers include duty of care, management of complex itineraries involving larger groups of employees, and of course, changes, cancellations, and re-bookings. TMCs also manage travel for federal government agencies, including our nation’s military. TMC customers do not book or manage travel using online travel platforms available to the general public.

“Travel Tech thanks the leadership of the Senate and House committees for their work to advance the FAA Reauthorization,” said Travel Tech President & CEO Laura Chadwick. “We now ask that you recognize that Travel Management Companies, who do not book or manage travel using online platforms available to the general public, should be exempted from provisions intended for the general public.”

In the letter, the following requests were outlined:

  1. With respect to ancillary fees, exempting from compliance any travel subject to a corporate or government contract.

Unless exempted, the proposed requirement would be problematic and unnecessary for corporate agencies, as the systems that TMCs and their business customers use for booking business travel differ from an airline website or online travel agency (OTA) site accessible to the general public.

  1. Aligning the Senate and House bills with regard to Ticket Agent refund obligations to ensure Agents’ fiscal solvency.

Sec. 702 of the Senate bill directs the Secretary of Transportation to issue a final rule to apply refund requirements to Ticket Agents in the case of canceled or significantly delayed flights. However, Ticket Agents are not in a fiscal position to provide refunds without first receiving the passengers’ funds back from the airlines. The House bill clarifies this provision and should be fully adopted.

  1. Clarify Ticket Agent responsibilities with regard to refund portal provision, and exempt Ticket Agents that provide services pursuant to a corporate or government contract.

Section 702 of S. 1939 requires Ticket Agents to prominently display on their websites a link that passengers eligible for a refund may use to make a request. This provision would require ticket agents, such as TMCs, who do not serve the general public but have a public website, to comply. However, Travel Management Companies already have specific refund obligations under their contracts. Accordingly, the refund portal provision should exempt ticket agents who provide travel services pursuant to corporate or government contracts.


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.

Final bill may be considered before the expiration of the FAA’s authorization extension on May 10th

March 27, 2024 – This week, Travel Tech sent letters to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the U.S. House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure as they work to align H.R. 3935, the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act of 2023 and S. 1939, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2023 into one FAA reauthorization bill to be considered by both the House and Senate. Travel Tech’s letters highlighted its preferred changes to best support consumers as they purchase airline tickets.

“Travel Tech appreciates Congressional leaders for their hard work to get this critical legislation across the line,” said Travel Tech President & CEO, Laura Chadwick. “It is now critical that this bill is finalized in a way that gives travelers the transparency and choice they deserve.”

Travel Tech’s priorities for the final FAA Reauthorization bill include:

  1. Adding Ticket Agents to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection

Ticket Agents are the largest travel industry segment not represented on this key advisory committee. Allowing them to become members will provide valuable insights currently not reflected in the committee, helping the Department of Transportation meet its consumer protection mission.

  1. Aligning the Senate and House bills with regard to Ticket Agent refund obligations to ensure Agents’ fiscal solvency

Sec. 702 of the Senate bill directs the Secretary of Transportation to issue a final rule to apply refund requirements to Ticket Agents in the case of canceled or significantly delayed flights. However, Ticket Agents are not in a fiscal position to provide refunds without first receiving the passengers’ funds back from the airlines. The House bill clarifies this provision and should be fully adopted.

  1. Clarify Ticket Agent responsibilities with regard to refund portal provision, and exempt metasearch engines and other Ticket Agents that provide services pursuant to a corporate or government contract

Section 702 of S. 1939 requires Ticket Agents to prominently display on their websites a link that passengers eligible for a refund may use to make a request. However, because many Online Travel Agents offer services beyond airfare comparison shopping and booking on their sites, these links will likely cause confusion among consumers seeking refunds for hotels, car rentals, or other services. Furthermore, Travel Management Companies that do not sell to the public already have specific refund obligations under their contracts. Finally, metasearch engines that direct customers to other sites have no record of which flight a customer ultimately purchased and should be similarly exempt.

  1. Allow flexibility for Ticket Agents and air carriers to design the appropriate display of ancillary fees for customers, and similarly distinguish between Agents that provide services under corporate or government contracts and those that engage with the public
  1. Remove the inclusion of Section 701 in H.R. 3935 that repeals the DOT’s Full Fare Advertising Rule.

The Full Fare Advertising Rule requires that the entire price for airfare, including taxes and fees, be disclosed to consumers in the first instance following an itinerary search. Its repeal will undermine consumers’ ability to effectively comparison shop and choose the best travel option to meet their needs and budget.


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.

Comments Advocate for Intermediaries and Liability Protections When Travel Suppliers Fail to Provide Accurate Mandatory Fee Information

February 8, 2024 — The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) filed comments on the FTC’s Trade Regulation Rule on Unfair or Deceptive Fees NPRM. Travel Tech expressed support for the Commission’s continued efforts to enhance competition and pricing transparency for consumers but advocated that revisions be made about who should be held liable when inaccurate mandatory fee information is provided by travel service providers, including hotels.

Travel Tech provided detailed information in its comments about the indirect distribution channel, where millions of price points are transmitted from hotels and other travel service providers to Travel Tech member companies and other intermediaries. This complex process is critical to enabling the price and quality comparison tools consumers rely on.

“Travel Tech is committed to enhancing the consumer travel experience through transparency and competition,” said Laura Chadwick, President and CEO of Travel Tech. “However, the FTC’s proposed rule assumes that hotels will pass along its mandatory fee information – charges only they know and possess – but this is not always the case.”

Travel Tech strongly urged the Commission to revise its proposed rule to make clear that Intermediaries are not liable when Travel Service Providers fail to provide accurate, complete, and timely mandatory fee information as long as Intermediaries make reasonable efforts to receive such information.

Six years ago, Congress passed a law that held that intermediaries cannot be found liable when air carriers operating in the United States fail to provide information or data is required for intermediaries to comply with a rule about customer service information (FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, Pub. L. No. 115-254 § 427, 132 Stat. 3340.). In addition, thirty-nine states have similar laws in place when sellers provide inaccurate sales tax information to marketplaces. In its comments, Travel Tech argued that the FTC should apply similar standards in its final rule. 

Read the full comments

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.

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

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.

Major Activity Anticipated by Congress, Regulatory Agencies, and State Legislatures in 2024

January 10, 2024 — With Members of Congress returning to Capitol Hill this week, Travel Tech released a briefing on the state of play for public policy impacting the travel industry. As interest in travel continues to rebound with consumers and policymakers, the association is keyed into ongoing legislative and regulatory fights on behalf of travel tech companies. 

Advocating for One National Mandatory Fee Price Transparency Law and Enforcement Fairness for Travel Tech Companies

Policymakers on both the federal and state levels continue to pursue efforts to hold hotels accountable when they withhold information about their mandatory fees from travelers. Travel Tech supports a single, national standard and a common-sense provision to account for situations when hotels fail to provide accurate and complete information to price comparison sites.

Action Areas: Federal Trade Commission’s Trade Regulation Rule on Unfair or Deceptive Fees proposed rule (NPRM) (comments due February 7, 2024), S. 2498, the Hotel Transparency Act of 2023, and H.R. 6543, the No Hidden Fees on Extra Expenses for Stays (FEES) Act.

Anticipating Final Rules on Refunds and Ancillary Fee Transparency by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in February and March

According to the federal government’s Unified Regulatory Agenda, the DOT will issue its final rules on Airline Ticket Refunds and Consumer Protections in February and Enhancing Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees in March of this year. Travel Tech filed comprehensive comments on both proposed rules, as each will majorly impact the travel technology industry. 

Action Areas: DOT’s Airline Ticket Refunds and Consumer Protections and Enhancing Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees Notice of Proposed Rulemakings

Securing Travel Tech’s Priorities in the Long-Term Reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) by Congress

The second extension of the FAA expires on Friday, March 8, 2024. The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee will likely soon schedule a markup of S. 1939, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2023. In July 2023, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3935, the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act. Both pieces of legislation include major Travel Tech priorities, and the association continues to advocate actively for provisions included in S.1939.

Action Areas: S. 1939, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2023 and H.R. 3935, the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act 

American Innovation and Choice Online Act

Travel Tech supports S.2033, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA) to address the vast inequities resulting from extremely large search platforms, like Google, abusing their dominant position and undermining competition. 

Action Areas: S.2033, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA) 

Ensuring the Responsible Use of AI in Travel

Both state and federal policymakers are grappling with how AI tools should be regulated. Given the concerns about inaccurate or outdated information and recommendations, copyright issues, ethical risks and more, the use of AI in travel may soon be a focal point in such discussions. Travel Tech will engage with policymakers on the responsible use of AI in the travel sector. 

Sign up for Travel Tech’s Passport newsletter and stay in the know about news and public policy impacting the travel tech industry. Delivered every Wednesday, Passport keeps industry leaders up-to-date on current and emerging issues and advocacy efforts.


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.

Association to Submit Comments in Response to Junk Fee Challenges in the Indirect Channel

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently published its proposed Trade Regulation Rule on Unfair or Deceptive Fees and is currently seeking public comment. If adopted, this wide-sweeping regulation would directly impact companies in the travel tech sector, including those that engage in the indirect sale of hotel rooms or other places of short-term lodging and/or place a surcharge on consumer transactions to cover the cost of payment processing and beyond.

To support travel tech industry members, the Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) has developed a free regulatory analysis to help companies understand this proposed new regulation. Travel Tech is working with its members to submit comments by the new official due date of February 7, 2024. (Interested in learning more about membership? Learn more here.) 

As both federal and state authorities focus on junk fee transparency, Travel Tech has continued to advocate on behalf of the industry. Travel Tech is engaged with members of Congress in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate specifically focused on legislation on resort fee transparency. It has also published a free legislative analysis of California’s new price transparency laws that go into effect in July 2024. Travel Tech has also submitted comments in response to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Enhancing Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees” Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

“Travel Tech members are committed to operating transparently. It is central to the benefits they provide to consumers,” said Laura Chadwick, President & CEO of Travel Tech. “To protect competition and transparency, any regulations in this area must apply equally to all entities providing travel pricing information, both online and offline.”

Access Travel Tech’s Free Regulatory Analysis on FTC Junk Fees

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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.

Bill’s Safe Harbor Provision is Essential for Pro-Consumer Price Comparison Sites

On Wednesday, November 1st, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce held a markup on the No Hidden FEES Act of 2023. The Act will require – for the first time ever in federal law – consumers are shown the total price for a hotel room (including rate and all mandatory fees) wherever hotel pricing is available. Under this legislation, the total price must be “transparent to and easily understood by the consumer.” 

Travel Tech and its members continue to engage on this important legislation, working with subcommittee staff to incorporate a safe harbor provision similar to those used in many states for sales and occupancy tax collection.  

Laura Chadwick, President and CEO of Travel Tech said: “Providing transparent and competitive pricing to consumers is central to price comparison websites’ business models. The safe harbor language ensures that hotels must share their resort fees not only on their own websites but on price comparison sites too.”

“Without a safe harbor, price comparison sites would have to engage in costly, time-intensive investigations and contract dispute litigation with the tens of thousands of hotels providing their rates and taxes – but not their mandatory fees – to these sites,” Chadwick added. “Doing so will detract from price comparison sites’ core purpose: providing a transparent and competitive marketplace for consumers to find and book their travel.” 

Multiple states have identical safe harbor laws for sales and/or occupancy tax collection. In these cases, if sellers fail to provide accurate tax information to price comparison sites, the sellers are ultimately responsible – not the marketplace. The same should follow on the federal level if a hotel provides inaccurate resort fees to a travel marketplace.


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.

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

Travel Tech Supports the No Hidden FEES Act

Travel Tech Introduces Exclusive Membership Seal

July 01, 2024

Seal identifies member companies, both large and small, as travel tech industry leaders Monday, July 1st, 2024 — Today, the Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) introduced a web-verified Membership Seal for its members’ exclusive use. This seal identifies each Travel Tech member company as a leader supporting the travel technology industry through education and advocacy. […]