Q: Our travel agency, Trip Advisor, may be contacted by travelers with disabilities who wish to book travel. As a retail business, we are subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), so we cannot discriminate against such customers if they want to visit our office or contact us. We understand that we must make reasonable accommodations if this is the case. However, we understand that there are many other laws and regulations that apply to airlines. For example, in some cases, we may make special arrangements for airline travel or tailor our website to make it easier for you to access. Are travel agents who represent airlines subject to airline laws and regulations?
A: It seems that the DOT intended airline rules to apply to travel agents, but they do not. Therefore, it is subject to ADA only, with one minor exception.
The federal law requiring airlines to accommodate the needs of disabled airline travelers is the Airline Access Act of 1986, where the DOT passed regulations to protect disabled airline passengers. required to be issued. The DOT finally succeeded in issuing these rules 22 years later in Part 382 of its rules.
Part 382 is over 25,000 words long. You need to be an expert in disability law to stay familiar with all the detailed requirements of the rules.
Does Part 382 apply to travel agents? Apparently, the DOT states, “As a U.S. airline, any contract or appointment agreement with a U.S. travel agent must also include a guarantee of such compliance.” I hoped to apply them.
Oddly enough, today’s “contracts or agreements” have no such valid “guarantees.” ARC included the following in its Agency Reporting Agreement (ARA), which was initiated in 2008: subject to the Act. ”
The same sentence appears in the 2010 edition of the ARA, but by the time the 2013 edition appeared, the clause was gone and never came back. Nor can legally he be found anywhere in the Industry Agent’s Handbook, a 254-page document that is part of the ARA.
Going back to the ADA, what are your obligations? First, the law only applies if you have 15 or more employees, regardless of where they are located. Even if all 15 are working from home, the law still applies.
You can find excellent guides for travel agents in the Travel Agents and Tour Agents section of the Access Equal Opportunities page.
Finally, special DOT regulations apply to travel website operators if their annual revenue exceeds $25 million. “Revenue” is measured as commissions and fees, not sales.
Website rules require that if you offer web-only fares, you must offer fares through other channels, such as telephone, if the prospective customer is unable to use the website due to a disability.