Travel industry reaction was mixed to the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, a bill passed by the Senate on Wednesday and the House last week. It now awaits President Trump's signature. 

The bill requires the Department of Transportation to set minimum standards for seat widths and space between rows on commercial aircraft, despite objections from the airline industry.

Consumer travel advocate Charlie Leocha called the requirement "a major win for airline passengers."

ASTA applauded the bill last week for omitting previously proposed requirements for large travel agencies (annual revenue of at least $100 million) to disclose full fares and ancillary products at the point of sale. ASTA CEO Zane Kerby said the requirement "would have imposed an economic burden of close to $30 million a year on our members, ranging from reprogramming systems to training staff to 'talk time' and opportunity costs from lost sales." 

However, airlines will still be required to disclose the full fare (inclusive of government taxes and fees) from the beginning of a fare inquiry. 

Tori Barnes, the U.S. Travel Association's senior vice president for government relations, applauded Congress for including "much-needed reforms to TSA Precheck" but said that that the bill fell short of addressing "our aging and inadequate airports and air travel infrastructure, and in that regard, there is still important work to be done."

"As a consequence, our air transportation infrastructure is failing to keep pace with the rest of the world," she said.

Airlines for America CEO Nicholas Calio said in a brief statement that the bill "provides long-term certainty, which is critical toward maintaining a safe and affordable travel experience for consumers in communities across the country and throughout the world." 

The Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA) said it failed to address important airline safety issues. 

"Unfortunately, this bill has left out two important steps to ensure system safety by not rectifying the inconsistent safety rules on pilot fatigue and rest known as the 'Cargo Carve-out' and by ignoring language that would prohibit attempts by foreign carriers to obtain 'Flags of Convenience' certificates to operate in the U.S.," stated CAPA president Lee Collins. "We are concerned that both of these undermine U.S. airline safety standards."


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