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Title 14 Part 256

Title 14 → Chapter II → Subchapter A → Part 256

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR

Title 14 Part 256

e-CFR data is current as of May 22, 2019

Title 14Chapter IISubchapter A → Part 256


Title 14: Aeronautics and Space


PART 256—ELECTRONIC AIRLINE INFORMATION SYSTEMS


Contents
§256.1   Purpose.
§256.2   Applicability.
§256.3   Definitions.
§256.4   Prohibition on undisclosed display bias.
§256.5   Minimum disclosure requirements for biased displays.
§256.6   No requirement to provide access to systems.

Authority: 49 U.S.C. 40101 and 41712.

Source: Docket No. DOT-OST-2014-0056, 81 FR 76828, Nov. 3, 2016, unless otherwise noted.

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§256.1   Purpose.

(a) The purpose of this part is to set forth requirements for the display of flight options by electronic airline information systems that provide air carrier or foreign air carrier schedule, fare, or availability information, including, but not limited to, global distribution systems (GDSs), corporate booking tools, and internet flight search tools, for use by consumers, carriers, ticket agents, and other business entities so as to prevent unfair or deceptive practices in the distribution and sale of air transportation.

(b) Nothing in this part exempts any person from the operation of the antitrust laws set forth in subsection (a) of the first section of the Clayton Act (15 U.S.C. 12).

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§256.2   Applicability.

(a) This part applies to any air carrier, foreign air carrier, or ticket agent that operates an electronic airline information system, e.g., GDS, corporate booking tool, or internet flight search tool, that combines the schedules, fares or availability information of more than one air carrier or foreign air carrier for the distribution or sale in the United States of interstate or foreign air transportation.

(b) This part applies only if the electronic airline information system is displayed on a Web site marketed to consumers in the United States or on a proprietary display available to travel agents, business entities, or a limited segment of consumers of air transportation in the United States.

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§256.3   Definitions.

For purposes of this part:

Availability means information provided in displays with respect to the ability to make a reservation on a particular flight.

Display means the presentation of air carrier or foreign air carrier schedules, fares, or availability to a consumer or agent or other individual involved in arranging air travel for a consumer by means of a computer or mobile electronic device.

Electronic airline information system or EAIS means a system that combines air carrier or foreign air carrier schedule, fare, or availability information for transmission or display to air carriers or foreign air carriers, ticket agents, other business entities, or consumers.

Integrated display means any display that includes the schedules, fares or availability of more than one listed carrier.

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§256.4   Prohibition on undisclosed display bias.

Each air carrier, foreign air carrier, and ticket agent that operates an EAIS must comply with the requirements of this section.

(a) Each EAIS that uses any factor, not based on user selection or corporate contract travel arrangement, directly or indirectly relating to carrier identity in ordering the information contained in an integrated display must clearly disclose as provided for in §256.5 that the identity of the carrier is a factor in the order in which information is displayed.

(b) An EAIS's integrated display must not give any carrier's flights a system-imposed preference over any other carrier's flights in that market based on carrier identity unless the preference is prominently disclosed as provided for in §256.5.

(c) Each EAIS must display information in an objective manner based on search criteria selected by the user (e.g., lowest fare, lowest total cost, date and time of travel, class of service, stopovers, total elapsed time or duration of travel, number of stops, limitations on carriers to be used, particular airport(s), number of passengers, etc.) When providing information in response to a search by a user of the EAIS, the EAIS must order the information provided so that the flight options that best satisfy the parameters of the user-selected search criteria are displayed conspicuously and no less prominently (e.g., in the same or larger font size and the same or more noticeable font color) than any other flight option displayed. Flight options may be presented in sequence, matrix, or other formats, but the flight options that best satisfy the parameters of the user-selected search criteria must be ranked in lists above other flight options, or identified more prominently than other flight options in a matrix or other format. This does not preclude systems from setting default display parameters that are not deceptive or offering users the option to choose a variety of display methods within those parameters.

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§256.5   Minimum disclosure requirements for biased displays.

To the extent an EAIS engages in display bias based on carrier identity, it must clearly and conspicuously disclose that fact at the top of each search result display presented to the user in response to the user-selected search criteria. The notice must state that the flights are not displayed in neutral order and that certain airlines' fare, schedule or availability information is given preferential treatment in how it is displayed.

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§256.6   No requirement to provide access to systems.

Nothing in this section requires an air carrier, foreign air carrier, or ticket agent to allow a system to access its internal computer reservation system or to permit “screen scraping” or “content scraping” of its Web site; nor does it require an air carrier or foreign air carrier to permit the marketing or sale of the carrier's services through any ticket agent or other carrier's system. “Screen scraping” as used in this paragraph refers to a process whereby a company uses computer software techniques to extract information from other companies' Web sites without permission from the company operating the targeted Web site.

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