Travel Tech Presses U.S. DOT on Rulemaking to Ensure Prompt Refunds from Airlines to Ticket Agents for Consumers 

Recent FAA Reauthorization bill directs DOT to address issues with its Refunds and Other Consumer Protections final rule 

June 12, 2024 – Today, the Travel Technology Association (“Travel Tech”) sent a letter to Secretary Pete Buttigieg, asking the U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”) to immediately begin the rulemaking process called for by the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act to require airlines promptly provide refunds to ticket agents. The Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act was recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden.

“Ticket agents’ core purpose is to serve consumers and act on their behalf in merchant-of-record situations,” said Laura Chadwick, Travel Tech President & CEO. “When refunds are required, consumers are due back their money from airlines and no one else. We are thankful Congress has directed DOT to take up this new rulemaking to protect consumers and ticket agents alike.”

In its Refunds and Other Consumer Protections final rule, published on April 26, 2024, DOT declined to require airlines to provide prompt refunds to consumers when ticket agents serve as the merchant of record. This will create situations wherein ticket agents must provide refunds to consumers without first receiving consumers’ funds back from the airlines.

To rectify DOT’s decision, at Travel Tech’s urging, Congress included a provision in the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act that states, “(2) TRANSFER OF FUNDS.—The Secretary shall issue regulations requiring air carriers and foreign air carriers to promptly transfer funds to a ticket agent if—“(A) the Secretary has determined that the ticket agent is responsible for providing the refund; and “(B) the ticket agent does not possess the funds of the passenger. (Sec. 503, Refunds)

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

Related Content