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Ease agent penalty for stolen tickets

Anolik: Ease agent penalty for stolen tickets
Complete presentations:
Barry Roberts, Roberts & Hundertmark
Doug Crozier, Heifetz, Crozier, Law
Mark Pestronk, Law Offices of Mark Pestronk
Terry F. Lazar,Global Reservation System
Kathleen O. Argiropoulos, Airlines Reporting Corp.
Bruce Bishins, U.S. Travel Agent Registry
Originally Published at: TravelWeely.com

By Fran Durbin

WASHINGTON -- San Francisco attorney Alexander Anolik said he believes he has come up with a way to ease the financial penalty imposed on travel agents who get "the most outrageous" type of debit memo: the one for tickets stolen from the agency and honored by airlines.
Anolik proposed to give airlines a financial incentive to catch stolen tickets at the gate and to "mitigate potential damages" before they "shift the burden on travel agents," who are held liable for usage of stolen stock. Under his proposal, the Airlines Reporting Corp. would amend the standard agency contract as follows:
•  Airlines could not collect from agents unless they checked the stolen-ticket database before accepting the ticket at the gate.
•  If the ticket was not on the blacklist and later turned out to be stolen, the airline could collect only actual damages from the agent, not the price written on the ticket.
•  Actual damages would be limited to the incremental costs of transporting the passenger if the plane was not full, such as food and beverage service and extra fuel and insurance costs.
•  Actual damages would be limited to the lowest available fare charged for the flight if the plane was full and the passenger actually displaced a paying passenger who had a legitimate ticket.
Under current ARC rules, agents are liable for tickets stolen in daytime thefts and nighttime burglaries if they have failed to comply with the ticket security rules.
Anolik said airlines "have no incentive" to check for stolen tickets at the gate because they can lay the financial burden on agents. But agents "are not insurers of the airlines and should not be the insurers of the airlines when tickets get stolen," he said.
His comments were made during a daylong law symposium here cosponsored by ARTA, Travel Weekly and MasterCard. Although Anolik is ARTA's general counsel, he was speaking for himself when making the proposal.