Agents Angered by American Airlines Fee

Non-US travel agents will have to pay additional fee booking via Travelport.

Travel agents are facing a shock this week as they discover that when booking flights on American Airlines they will have to pay an additional fee if they use Travelport reservation systems, including Galileo and Worldspan, unless they are based in the USA. The explanation from the airline is that the new fee is designed to bring the net cost of Travelport GDS transactions made outside the US “in line with the cost of other GDSs and distribution platforms available in the marketplace.”

The controversial decision has already incurred the wrath of the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies, which says that agents in Canada will be charged $2 per GDS segment and that agents in other countries could face additional fees of up to $22 per segment. In what could be the first of such protests, the Canadian association is battling the move – “challenging American Airlines’ legal and moral right to drive a wedge between the major GDS provider Travelport and travel agencies around the globe.”

The European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association has reportedly written to IATA challenging the airline’s intentions. The Canadian association guesses that American Airlines may be trying to drive agents away from major GDSs in favour of the airline’s own direct online booking system. Travelport has also vocally protested the decision. A US court is already the scene of a battle between the airline and Orbitz, in which Travelport has a large minority stake.

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