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Inside Privacy Updates on Developments in Global Privacy & Data Security from Covington & Burling LLP

DOT issues final rule on passenger rights

Posted in International, Technology Transactions

Yesterday the Department of Transportation issued its final rule on “Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections.”  The proposed rule had been published in December 2009 and received over 2,000 comments.  One of the most controversial aspects of the original proposed rule was a requirement that airlines must provide all their fare and product information to Global Distribution Systems (GDSs) to enable full disclosure of product and price information to consumers.  Most airlines and a number of commentators pointed out that this proposal would have a number of unintended consequences which would be detremental to consumers, including impacting the privacy and security of passenger information.  The GDSs and travel agency groups disagreed and welcomed the requirement.  In Monday’s final rule the DOT states that it needs more time to consider this issue in relation to the GDSs and thus has deferred its decision on this requirement.  Thus the debate on this topic will continue.