U.S.-DOT: new rules for charter operators

The Transportation Department has issued a guidance letter to tour operators and others in the public charter industry, imposing new requirements in the wake of the March collapse of Direct Air. According to the DOT, the company:contracted out its reservations process to a third party;signed charter contracts with charter airlines for aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance only, while entering into separate contracts with fuel suppliers;issued vouchers for future travel rather than obtaining passenger consent to an operator-participant contract for a specific flight;accepted debit cards that did not offer the same refund protections as traditional credit cards.Based on the experience with Direct Air, the DOT is effectively prohibiting these practices by public charter operators, effective Dec. 13.Source: Travel Weekly; find article here>>.

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