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ASTA Takes Air Canada to Task

May 5, 2006 By: Camie Foster Travel Agent

ASTA on Friday afternoon took Air Canada to task for its withdrawal of Tango-class inventory from the four GDS systems in Canada and the U.S. In a statement released Friday, ASTA says it "condemns withdrawal of low fare inventory from GDS systems for the purpose of forcing consumers to buy directly from a carrier-owned web site." ASTA says this practice impairs the efficiency of travel agencies and limits consumers' choice of preferred channels—and ultimately is counterproductive to carriers' sustainable profitability. ASTA also takes Air Canada to task for not providing agents in Canada and the U.S. with advance notice of the change. "The decision was implemented in the middle of the night on Monday, May 1," says ASTA's statement, "and agents were confronted with the results the next morning without the benefit of any explanation of what had been done." Among the results, says ASTA, were rampant confusion and wasted time by agents trying to sort out Air Canada's fare-structure terminology. ASTA has urged Air Canada management to communicate in a clear and unequivocal manner with both travel agents and travelers. "So far," ASTA says, "these entreaties have been unavailing. As a result, a dark cloud hovers over the Air Canada position."

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