In the United States, there are a number of regulations relating to travel and hospitality and the Department of Transportation (DOT) is the U.S. government agency to which Congress has assigned many functions which were formerly performed by the Civil Aeronautics Board. The functions of the Civil Aeronautics Board were transferred to the DOT by the Public Law 98-443 (October 4, 1984) the Sunset Act.
The Department of Transportation initiates and issues the majority of regulations for the travel industry and answers consumer complaints related to travel. Their DOT’s duties includes including regulation of: (1) overbooking and denied boarding compensation; (2) liability for lost or damaged baggage; (3) protections on the sale of charters; (4) smoking; (5) discrimination against handicapped persons; (b) computerized reservations systems (CRS); (7) antitrust immunity; (8) unfair competitive practices; and (9) determination of an air carrier's financial and managerial fitness. The DOT has the authority to approve airline mergers and intercarrier agreements under the Federal Aviation Act §§408, 409, 412, and 414. The DOT is also responsible for tracking and monitoring airline performance.
Particularly useful information can be found on the DOT website including the Monthly Air Travel Consumer Report www.bts.gov/PressReleases/dot9901.html which details lost baggage, flight delays and cancellations; information about domestic competition policies, disease, and imported goods related to travel.
The International Forum of Travel and Tourism Advocates (IFTTA) is the largest professional organization of travel law attorneys and travel industry personnel dealing with travel law matters from around the world whose law practices emphasize the travel and tourism industries. Member advocates represent agents, carriers, cruise lines, hotels, and government tourism departments. IFTTA'S objectives are to:
- Provide a Forum for the exchange of information on the legal aspects of Travel Law.
- Provide a worldwide resource of travel law information (statutes, case law, etc.).
- Encourage the establishment of common legal standards in the travel industry.
- Work with educational institutes to foster research on the legal aspects of Travel.
- Sponsor conferences on the legal aspect of Travel and further a spirit of collegiality.
The organization, formed in 1983, maintains a depository of travel and tourism law materials including statutes, case law, and travel industry articles. IFTTA also publishes a bibliography of material in the Travel Law field and seeks to encourage the establishment of common legal standards for the Travel Industry, to work with educational institutes in fostering research on the legal aspects of travel, and sponsors conferences on the legal aspect of travel, and further the spirit of IFTTA collegiality. IFTTA's depository of judicial decisions and articles pertaining to travel law is kept in San Francisco, USA; Dundee, Scotland; and Tokyo, Japan. IFTTA has published the IFTTA JOURNAL since 1985. Articles cover travel topics such as Can the Employer of a Passenger be sued in case of an Air crash? and Can the workers Union and its authorities be sued for strikes that affect the Travel Industry? and The development of the space tourism and travel.
IFTTA has held numerous international conferences in countries including Israel, Greece, USA, Spain, Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Hungary and Turkey. Membership has included representation from Brazil, Denmark, Hong Kong, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Malta, Mexico, Sweden and Venezuela and others countries. Regional branches have been formed in Europe, South America and Israel.
The Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA) evaluates hospitality education programs in the United States. The ACPHA was established in 1989 and consists of 14 commissioners, including hospitality educators, executives from the lodging, restaurant and hospitality industries, as well as member representatives from the travel industry. The Commission meets twice a year to review, assess and evaluate four-year hospitality programs at colleges and universities across the United States.
The Air Transportation Association (ATA) is the trade association of U.S. certificated air carriers and was founded by 14 airlines 1936. ATA was the first and today is the only trade organization for the principal U.S. airlines. ATA takes an active role in all major government decisions regarding aviation, including the creation of the Civil Aeronautics Board, the creation of the air traffic control system, and the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978.
ATA’s mission is to support and assist the airline industry by promoting the air transport and the safety, cost effectiveness, and technological advancement of its operations; advocating common industry positions before state and local governments; conducting designated industry-wide programs; and assuring governmental and public understanding of all aspects of air transport.
The Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents 60,000 pilots who fly for 40 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Founded in 1931, the Association is chartered by the AFL-CIO and the Canadian Labour Congress. Known internationally as US-ALPA, it is a member of the International Federation of Air Line Pilot Associations.
ALPA provides three critical services to its members:
Airline Safety and Security:
Over its 70 years, ALPA has been a part of nearly every significant safety improvement in the airline industry. The Association has helped to make airline travel the safest mode of transportation in human history. More than 600 working airline pilots volunteer to serve on the local and national safety and security committees that help guide the Association's work.
Over the decades, ALPA pilot groups have negotiated scores of contracts with hundreds of airlines. Today, ALPA staff offers its members the finest financial analysis available, in-depth knowledge of the Railway Labor Act (the legislation that governs airline pilot contracts), and the legal experience to defend pilot contracts.
ALPA's staff and pilot volunteers consistently represent pilots' views to all airline industry decision-makers, including Congress, Parliament, the White House, and federal agencies.
At all levels of ALPA, pilots make decisions through the democratic process. All decisions start with pilot groups. Each pilot group consists of all the pilots at a given airline. Pilot groups exercise considerable autonomy in governing their own internal affairs, such as negotiating contracts, enforcing those contracts, and discussing issues of concern with their companies.
The Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) regulates ticket sales and reports to the airlines for travel agencies and other ticket outlets and is a corporation owned by certain U.S. air carriers that collectively appoint U.S. travel agencies to represent participating air carriers. It further administers the Area Banks and Area Settlement Program which is a clearinghouse for agent reporting and the settlement of airline ticket sales. ARC became the successor corporation to the ATC, following the agent rights issues trial of ARTA vs. ATC in 1985. While some functions are similar to those of ATC, ARC is designed to operate without the limited antitrust immunity once possessed by ATC. The ARC corporation began formal operations on January 1. 1985.
The Airlines Reporting Corporation requires all travel agencies to apply for, and be granted, a 'travel agency appointment' prior to being allowed to sell air travel with airline ticket stock. This agency program binds the travel agent as an agent of the carrier. The agent may receive commissions by representing the airline in the sale of passenger transportation. ARC established its own criteria for which travel agents would be entrusted with its airline ticket stock paper and airline ticket printing plates. Various carriers have now established additional bonding and liability criteria.
The application for an appointment must be approved before operating as an appointed travel agency. ARC will not grant uniform ticket stock until the appointment is granted. ARC’s services include: travel agency accreditation; ticket, and ticket number assignment, distribution and control; travel transaction reporting and financial settlement; new distribution technology development and support.
In 1995, ARC began to process and settle electronic tickets issued by ARC accredited travel agents through Computer Reservations Systems (CRS) now also known as Global Reservations Systems (GDS). The treatment accorded an electronic transaction by ARC is, for the most part, a mirror image of the function performed for the paper counter part with accountability residing with the electronic record of a document number rather than a numbered paper document. The sale of electronic tickets (or e-tickets) is steadily increasing in number and currently accounts for about half of all ARC processed travel agent transactions. However, in light of recent terrorist activities, e-tickets usage may become more restricted. Because these systems require telephone line transmission, frauds against carriers and ticketed through a GDS are prosecuted federally by the U.S. Attorneys office.
The Alliance Internationale de Tourisme (AIT) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization representing the interests of European and American automobile associations and touring clubs. Established in 1898 in Luxembourg by seventeen clubs from Europe and America it was the first international organization of tourists. Today AIT is a world-wide federation of touring clubs and automobile associations whose mission is to promote travel safety and personal mobility throughout the world.
In 2002, the AIT consisted of 140 member associations in 101 countries. These member associations represent approximately 110 million individual club members world-wide, thus representing more than 300 million individuals around the globe.
The AIT is divided into four regions: Region I Europe, Middle East and Africa; Region II Asia and Pacific; Region III North America; Region IV Latin America. AIT has two membership categories: active members (organisations with full voting rights) and adherent members (organisations with an observer status without voting rights).
The majority of the AIT's active members are touring clubs and motoring associations, though about one fifth are open air clubs such as cycle touring, camping and caravanning, hiking, and nautical touring.
AIT is an organization’s organization and does not deal directly with the public. Its services are far-reaching on different areas of activities relating to travel and mobility and include mutual assistance agreements between its member associations for the benefit of these associations' individual members when travelling abroad.
Known as the Automobile Association (AA), outside of the US and Canada, this drivers based organization is best known for providing emergency road side service. The American Automobile Association (AAA) provides maps, tour books, insurance, road service and other services to its members and offers personalized travel service for consumers. The AAA has thousands of local branch offices throughout the U.S. and Canada. The AAA also provides access to member based discounts for airline tickets, auto services, and hotels as well as travel guides, maps, and directions.
The American Bus Association (ABA) co-ordinates connecting ABA affiliated bus schedules and seeks to improve bus terminals, travel, and tourism. The ABA functions as the trade association of the intercity bus industry, and represents the motorcoach industry's interests in Washington, D.C. It also facilitates relationships between North American motorcoach and tour companies and all related segments of the travel and supplier industries and promotes travel by motorcoach to consumers.
The ABA represents approximately 800 motorcoach and tour companies in the United States and Canada. Its members operate charter, tour, regular route, airport express, special operations and contract services (commuter, school, transit). Another 2,300 member organizations represent the travel and tourism industry and suppliers of bus products and services who work in partnership with the North American motorcoach industry. ABA has a total membership of more than 3,000.
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) was formed in 1910 as a federation of state lodging associations throughout the United States with some 13,000 property members worldwide, representing more than 1.7 million guest rooms. AH&LA was formally known as the America Hotel and Motel Association.
AH&LA provides its members with assistance in operations, education, and communications, and lobbies on Capitol Hill to provide a business climate in which the industry can continue to prosper. Individual state associations provide representation at the state level and offer many additional cost-saving benefits. AH&LA is associated with the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AH&LEF) and the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute AH&LEI.