The Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association has put its weight behind a newly formed international industry lobbying group against changes to airline distribution policies.
The SPAA has become a founding member of the Open Allies for Airfare Transparency, formed following American Airlines’ move to impose a $10 sector charge on bookings via Travelport GDSs and the carrier’s introduction of its Direct Connect online booking system.
SPAA vice president and air committee convener Kevin Thom said: “American Airlnes is attempting to force an unwanted and unnecessary solution – Direct Connect – onto customers regardless of their booking channel preference, and the penalty for non-compliance for Scottish travellers is a potential additional cost of $40, for example, on an Edinburgh-Chicago via London round trip booked and ticketed through Travelport.
“Where American Airlines treads, who will follow? This could be a defining moment in the history of air travel distribution.”
He added that the SPAA was ready to take its places alongside colleague organisations globally “to fight our corner” on behalf of members and corporate clients.
“GDS is fundamentally the most efficient distribution system available, providing a proven and neutral mechanism for the display and booking of air travel by whichever channel – TMCs, online agents or others,” said Thom.
The 115 organisations backing the Open Allies coalition include the US-based Business Travel Coalition, American Society of Travel Agents, European Technology and Travel Services Association and organisations such as Dell, Oracle and News Corp.