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NTA, Associations Successful in Lobbying for Stranded Airline Passengers

December 14, 2005

NTA, Associations Successful in Lobbying for Stranded Airline Passengers
December 14, 2005 – In October, NTA told you that it had joined with the American Society of Travel Agents and the Business Travel Coalition in urging the passage of Senator Burns’ Amendment No. 2103 to the Senate Transportation Appropriation bill (H.R. 3058). This would extend Section 145 of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act for one year. On Nov. 30, the President signed the bill and extended Section 145. This victory means that airline passengers can fly with more confidence this holiday season.

Section 145 provides that airline passengers holding tickets from a bankrupt carrier for a particular route are entitled to transportation on a space-available basis on any airline serving that route as long as alternation travel plans are made within 60 days after the bankrupt airline suspends operations. Additionally, the maximum fee that an airline can charge for providing standby transportation would not exceed $50 each way.

In a letter to United States senators, the group urged senators to vote "yes" for the amendment, stating that "customers can have at least some assurance that efforts will be made to provide them with transportation in the event that financially distressed carriers were to actually cease service."

Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), chair of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation supported the extension language.

"It’s just a good, common sense provision," said Sen. Conrad Burns. "If you buy a ticket on a given airline to Disneyland from Billings, Mont. and that airline liquidates and cancels all service while you’re enjoying your vacation, you could be stuck in Los Angeles. With my amendment in place, instead of buying a last minute ticket on another air carrier, you can fly stand-by on any air-carrier that serves that route for $50 dollars each way."

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