American Express Global Business Travel will not have to pay a booking fee on British Airways and Iberia air fares bought through global distribution systems (GDSs) after striking an agreement with the two airlines.
In May British Airways and sister carrier Iberia announced from November 1 they would impose an £8 fee for any flights bought through indirect channels, such as GDSs.
Now American Express GBT’s clients appear set to avoid paying the controversial surcharge after agreeing a multi-year deal with BA and Iberia on future GDS distribution.
The agreement applies to all GDS bookings, though each GDS is required to agree to the new arrangement with the airlines.
Until now, one GDS has done so, while British Airways, Iberia and American Express GBT remain in active dialogue with the others.
Michael Qualantone, Executive Vice President, Global Supplier Relations for American Express GBT, said: “This agreement recognises the value of our existing relationship, as well as future opportunities that may exist to bring value to clients and travellers using new distribution capabilities.
Stephen Humphreys, British Airways Global Head of Sales, confirmed the airline hopes to extend this offer “to all customers booking through GBT”.
BA and Iberia have also recently signed similar deals to wave the fee for fellow travel management company Hogg Robinson Group (HRG) and leisure agencies Lotus Group – which operates brands including DialAFlight and Supertravel – and Travel Up.