“100% committed to travel agents” and why the GDS booking fee was a success: Lufthansa

Lufthansa sues Sabre over GDS surcharge dispute

TORONTO — Lufthansa is taking Sabre to court over what the GDS says is a possible breach of contract regarding the airline’s controversial Distribution Cost Charge (DCC).

According to tnooz, at issue is whether the German airline group is in breach of its 2015 contracts regarding the 16 euro fee that Lufthansa is adding to every ticket booked through a global distribution system (GDS). A GDS has been broadly interpreted to mean Sabre, Amadeus and Travelport.

Following intense backlash from GDSs and travel agents, the airline has been trying to find an alternative way for travel agencies to connect directly into its reservation system to access fares and inventory without going through a GDS.

The airline’s two distribution channels are operated by Farelogix and Travelfusion. But Sabre argues that these technology providers are, in fact, GDSs, meaning they should thus face the same 16 euro fee. Lufthansa is contesting that view and is asking a judge to determine its rights under the 2015 contracts.

In addition, Sabre says that Lufthansa is imposing an improper charge on its subscribers, which the airline disputes. The charge, says Lufthansa, is actually paid by passengers, not subscribers.

Lufthansa introduced the 16 euro fee on Sept. 1, 2015, a move that outraged many in the travel industry. According to the airline, the DCC was introduced to cut down on the three-digit million Euro amount it pays to GDSs each year.