New Regulations For UFA Passengers

Not, so long ago, in 1999 the U.S.A. introduced its National Air Traffic Control System (N Tac Act). It is commonly called UFA. This system is similar to the U.S. State Department’s International Air Transportation Safety Assessment (IAASA). Although not directly comparable, UFA shares many of its attributes with IATA.


Originally, there was an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration Act of FAA, covering the authority of the Federal Aviation Administration to issue “unaired” or “finite” licenses for operators of U.S. air carriers to fly during emergency conditions. The UFA concept then became part of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) operating procedures. However, this practice temporarily ceased due to changes in U.S. policy, which required airlines to apply for a license through the T Visa when applying for discretionary travel to the United States. The CBP determined that a number of airlines had inappropriately applied for discretionary travel status and were consequently denied entry into the United States.

Because of these changes, the CBP determined that an “unlimited” or “finite” license would not serve any operational purpose in terms of assuring compliance with aviation regulations. Accordingly, in July 2021, it revised its rules for issuing discretionary travel authorizations to airlines whose records indicated that they satisfied all eligibility criteria for discretionary travel, as required under UFA. Accordingly, to qualify for a travel authorization, airlines must now apply for an unrestricted free agency visa under the new CBP provisions. This practice has been recently implemented by several large air carriers, including American Airlines, Delta Airlines, US Airways, Continental Airlines, United Airlines, American Helicopters, US Airways, Lufthansa Airlines, Air Canada, and Hawaiian Airlines.

As a result of this revision, it has become necessary for each carrier to apply separately for the free-agent status. Accordingly, the CBP has created three different classifications for UFA-class airline carriers: UFA-A, UFA-B, and UFA-C. No carrier will be allowed to apply for more than one class status per year.

An additional change to UFA rules is that all airline carriers are required to provide a list of unrestricted free agent opportunities, which include regular season games, Sunday Ticket programs, single trip, season, single day, and weekend vacation packages, among others. These free tickets will be provided for UFA members only, according to their records. In addition, no carrier will be permitted to deny the application for a free agent status based on a rating point or carrier history. Accordingly, the unrestricted free agent (ufa) designation will now cover all passengers who regularly travel on US carriers.

This classification system is intended to provide more flexibility to UFA managers and agents. Now, a passenger can apply for either a regular or restricted free agent status during any one of the three designated periods. The unrestricted free agents will be able to book seats for regular season, single trip, or weekend/consecutive trip itineraries. Similarly, the regular agents will be eligible to book seats for the special UFA-A, UFA-B, or UFA-C itineraries. As for the restricted free agents, they will be able to apply for a regular or restricted UFA status during one of the three designated periods only. This new rule provides greater flexibility for UFA travellers.