United Airlines update: ASTA victorious in getting agents 60-day extension


On Friday, July 17, United Airlines informed those agents whose merchant fee privileges it intended to revoke effective July 20, that they would be granted a 60-day extension if they asked for it. This move represented a major success for ASTA and its allies in the industry and on Capitol Hill, who had vigorously fought to secure this extension on behalf of its members and all those affected, agents and consumers alike.

During a press and member briefing yesterday, Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-NY) indicated that United had done too little, too late to address the concerns that 17 members of Congress had laid out in the weeks prior through letters to United. He went on to say that he would continue to push United for answers as to their ultimate intent. Arcuri has been instrumental in ASTA’s ability to gain support in the House of Representatives and the Senate. He, along with Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and 11 co-signers, authored the first letter to United.

In addition to Rep. Arcuri, ASTA president and chair Chris Russo, ASTA CEO William Maloney, CTC and ASTA senior vice president of legal and industry affairs participated in the call, along with ASTA’s industry allies: Kevin Mitchell, chairman, Business Travel Coalition; Art Sackler, executive director, Interactive Travel Services Association; and Lisa Simon, CTP, president, National Tour Association.

To ASTA members who reside or work in districts where members of congress sent a letter to United, please, it is critically important that you thank them specifically for their support, now and in the future. A short note will suffice but please do it today. Please visit ASTA.org to read those letters and for a list of members of congress who supported ASTA in this fight.

ASTA strongly urges those travel agents who received notice of the 60-day extension to contact United Airlines immediately and accept the offer. ASTA also wishes to remind travel agents that the fight to stop the new credit card cost shift policy is far from over and that travel agents should continue to contact their government representatives to put pressure on United to rescind permanently its attempt to prevent travel agents from using its merchant fee account.

Please continue to visit ASTA’s United Airlines credit card merchant policy resources page to find the sample letters to your congressman, letters from your president, Chris Russo, and the latest on this issue.