What is Part 295?
Part 295 refers to the code of Federal Regulations that apply to Air Charter Brokers. Basically, a comprehensive set of rules to follow that protect the consumer from fraud, misleading options, and unfair or illegal practices.
What does it mean for me as a buyer, and my sports team charter flights?
The whole idea is consumer protection. Much like the other FAA Regulations, these sections make sure that any legal agreement that is entered into by a team and a broker is protected by the Department of Transportation, and buyers can feel comfortable that they made the right choice when choosing a broker. These protections include the use of duly authorized direct air carriers, prohibiting unfair or deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition. It also eliminates false advertising, establishes required disclosures (such as carrier dba's), and refund policies.
How does this impact my RFP and Bid Awards?
You should always be asking questions and should feel comfortable that you understand what you are purchasing, especially since these are often very large purchases. There are a few questions and things to look for which can help confirm that you made the right decision regarding your charter broker.
Brokers are are required by law to disclose:
1) Air carrier identity
2) Role of broker - agent for client, agent for carrier, or indirect air carrier
3) The presence or absence of insurance available to cover the client.
A broker is required to disclose this information before before you enter into an agreement with them. If they will not provide this info to you, choose another Broker.
There are three other disclosures that your air charter broker is only required to disclose upon request:
1) They are required to advise clients about any business relationship that exists with the air carrier that might have a bearing on the broker’s recommendation of that particular operator.
2) The total cost of the air transportation paid by the charterer (to avoid hidden or undisclosed fees).
3) The existence of any third-party fees such as landing fees that the charterer is responsible for paying directly.
Why it matters for Large Group Charter Flights?
These rules, like many federal regulations in the aviation industry, are a direct result of unfortunate events. Clients were exposed and often taken advantage of due to loopholes and a lack of government oversight. For years, brokers were able to exploit this to their benefit at the expense of their clients. These new rules have helped level the playing field for brokers and have laid out clear and indisputable rules for brokers to follow, and allows the DOT the ability to enforce these rules and hopefully eliminate the brokers who used to operate outside of the regulations.
We feel that an educated consumer is a more effective consumer.
For more information, check out another blog dives deeper into these rules and regulations, or consult the DOT's website for more details.