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Titus, Bilirakis, Molinaro Introduce Legislation to Enhance Aviation Consumer Protection

Washington, DC – This week Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV), Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), and Congressman Marc Molinaro (R-NY) introduced the ACPAC Modernization Act, legislation that would add a representative for ticket agents to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee (ACPAC). The Members were joined by Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) and Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) as original cosponsors.

The ACPAC is a federal advisory body established by the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2012 for the purpose of providing recommendations to the Department of Transportation for improving consumer protections in air travel. As required by its chartering statute, the current ACPAC membership comprises one representative each from U.S. airlines, airports, consumer groups, and State or local governments.

The ACPAC Modernization Act would expand its membership to include a representative for travel agents, better reflecting the consumer experience with those entities and ensuring a more streamlined, customer-friendly travel experience. The bill would also reauthorize the advisory committee through the end of 2028.

“Ticket agents, including the 121 companies and 2,230 travel advisors in Nevada, facilitate half of all ticket sales across the country to consumers and they play a critical role in Las Vegas’s tourism industry,” said Rep. Titus. “This legislation will help DOT better protect travelers’ interests by adding a valuable new dimension to ACPAC’s work. It also will provide more transparency in the federal decision making process that impacts the consumer experience.”

“It is important that all stakeholders within the travel industry work together to protect consumers while harnessing the economic development potential that lies within this critical sector of our economy,” said Rep. Bilirakis. “Our bill helps achieve that goal by Modernizing the Advisory Committee and ensuring all stakeholders have a seat at the table.”

“As the first consumer member of ACPAC, I fully support expanding the membership of the advisory committee by an additional member representing travel agents and travel distributors. This expansion will add to the expertise of the committee,” said Charles Leocha, President & Co-Founder of Travelers United.

“We commend Congresswoman Titus and her colleagues for recognizing that adding a travel agency representative to this key committee will enhance the work and effectiveness of the ACPAC,” said Zane Kerby, President & CEO of the American Society of Travel Advisors. “Advocating for airline consumers is what travel advisors do every day, and roughly half of all airline tickets in the U.S. are sold through the agency channel. Giving these small business owners, 70 percent of whom are women, an elevated voice in the DOT regulatory process will help the Department meet its consumer protection mission. We are grateful to Congresswoman Titus for taking up this fight on behalf of the more than 2,200 travel advisors in Nevada and 160,000 advisors nationwide.”

“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 Rep. Molinaro, Rep. Garamendi, and Rep. 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. 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 technology. Our 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,” said Laura Chadwick, President & CEO of TravelTech.