Taxing Times – American Airlines Withdraws GDS Booking Fee

American Airlines drops “booking source premium”
American Airlines has just announced that it will “not move forward” with its controversial Booking Source Premium fee which was to apply to AA segments booked via Travelport GDSs, including Galileo.
It’s the latest development in the battle between AA and Travelport, which saw AA announced the planned fee in Nov as a response to “steep increases” in fees charged by the GDS.
However Travelport then imposed what AA described as a “new punitive tactic” which saw it representing AA fares in its GDS with an estimate of the Booking Source Premium as a ‘tax’ owed by customers.
“Travelport’s actions created tremendous confusion in the market and hurt our travel agency partners, and our customers,” said AA managing director Asia Pacific, Theo Panagiotoulias.
Although the dispute with Travelport is ongoing, AA said that it will no longer impose the Booking Source Premium fee for any bookings of AA or American Eagle flight segments through Travelport GDSs, and “no ADMs for the Booking Source Premium will be issued”.
The carrier said it now expects Travelport to “immediately drop the false tax” indicating the fee in its GDS displays.
Panagiotoulias warned that “if Travelport continues to misuse its market position to impose punitive rates, American may be forced to reinstitute the Booking Source Premium and/or remove some or all of its content from Travelport GDSs”.

Tough talking American Airlines has backed down on charging agents extra for bookings made through Travelport GDS, including Galileo. AA claimed the US$11.75 per segment fee would offset increases in Travelport airfare distribution rates. But the move, which applied everywhere except the US and Japan, backfired when Travelport urged agents to recoup the “tax” from customers. “Travelport’s actions created tremendous confusion in the market and hurt our travel agency partners, and our customers,” said AA managing director Asia Pacific, Theo Panagiotoulias, in a letter to the industry. Round one to Travelport.

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