“Hiding” airline surcharge in GDS displays “falsely inflates the base fares”.
American Airlines has attacked a decision by Travelport to include the airline’s recently proposed extra fee on non-US agents’ fares in its GDS fare displays. As reported, both the GDS and agents not based in the USA have been angered by American Airlines’ move to charge an additional fee of between $2 and $22 per GDS segment if they use Travelport reservation systems, including Galileo and Worldspan, when booking flights.
It incurred the wrath of agents’ associations around the world, but it is seen as being part of a wider battle to persuade agents to make bookings directly with the airline. “This deceptive practice falsely inflates the base fares for American Airlines flights, discriminating against American Airlines fares and deliberately misleading agents and consumers into believing that there are fewer choices available for low-cost flights,” the airline said in a statement.
The airline says that “hiding” the surcharge, which it calls a “booking source premium” and not a passenger fee, in the base fare, will be effectively asking customers to bear some or all of the intermediary’s costs. “It is categorically not part of the fare for air transportation, nor is it related to any other kind of service rendered to the passenger by American or any other charge from American that in any way a passenger can be required to pay in the name of American,” said the airline, which accuses Travelport of “using its subscribing agents worldwide as vehicles for retaliation against an airline that is looking for better ways of interacting with the agency community.”