TORONTO — ACTA has weighed in on the decision by British Airways and sister carrier Iberia to impose a new fee on GDS bookings.
“Travellers need consistency, transparency and choice. This can only be accomplished by providing content in all distribution channels. A surcharge imposed for booking through a GDS is not in the best interest of the traveller or our industry,” said Wendy Paradis, President of ACTA.
It was reported last week that British Airways and Iberia will introduce an £8 (approx. Cdn$14) distribution fee on all bookings made through a GDS not employing an NDC-led connection. The surcharge will come into effect on Nov. 1, covering fares in all cabins and classes.
BA’s move follows the introduction of a €16 (Cdn$24) fee on GDS bookings by rival Lufthansa in September 2015.
The BA strategy will be another cost passed on to the consumer in the form of an added “tax”, fee, or surcharge, which for the travel agency is considered a Non-Commissionable Fee (NCF). This additional fee will require travel agents to collect and explain to their clients why they are having to pay extra for their booking with the added limitation to comparison shopping.
Channels that are exempt from the fee include its own website, airline sales offices and call centers, as well as:
- NDC direct connection
- NDC via an IT service provider/aggregator
- Self-booking tools connected to BA or IB via NDC
- Other travel processors (including GDS), that adopt NDC based connections in the future
The fee is being set to recover the higher cost of bookings through global distribution systems when compared with bookings made online or via call centers.
ACTA takes this issue “very seriously” and has promised to evaluate the full impact of this additional fee.