UPDATED: Oil & water: Airline ticket distribution, travel agents

Two articles from the travel-trade press got my attention this morning. The artciles are about industry topics that may seem remote to individual travelers but they involve contentious issues about costs that eventually may mean higher airline ticket prices. I provided a little context on the issues in a posting here on April 27, and I plan to say more about it in Monday's Winging It column.

For now, you can read in Business Travel News' online edition about an agreement between a major European airlijne, Lufthansa, and Sabre, operatgor of a global distribution system used by travel agents, that should save money for customers of Sabre agencies. For context, Travelport and Amadeus are also global distribution systems, or GDSs. 

UPDATED; The second article, from Travel Weekly, mostly read by travel agents, reports that Delta is offering 10 percent commissions to agents for booking Mexico and Caribbean trips from New York. Today, Travel Weekly has an article clarifying that only certain agents with whom Delta already has a sales relationship are eligible for the commissions.

Those with long memories may recall that Delta led the way in 1995 in reducing and eventually eliminating commissions to agents, leading to the fees you now pay a traditional agent (and many online agencies) for selling tickets. The shoe now seems to be on the other foot, and the agents who commented on this article made that plain.  

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