Delta Air Lines is being assailed by agents like Phyllis Shappell for its its unfriendly practices and attitude toward commissions on air fare. Responding to an open letter to the airline industry (in which Delta and American Airlines CEOs are called out by name) that was written by ASTA President Chris Russo and published by Travel Agent, Shappell commented:
It was Delta who started the commission cuts. Why would I ever pay an airline to book and help their bottom line? Don't they see how already cutting Travel Agents out has hurt them? I opened my own agency and do not sell airline tickets, I refuse to pay ARC and don't want the additional hassle. I book through tour operators and I am doing just fine. If the airline passes this along to tour companies, I will only book land only, which would be the same commission, since airlines don't pay commission (some do but most don't) and you have to deal with schedule changes ......I think this will really hurt the airlines even more.
Shappell is not the only one fired up about what some airline executives are asking of or saying about travel agents. Even Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the Business Travel Coalition, shared his thoughts on the matter, posting the following:
It is perhaps time for the U.S. DOJ to remind the entire travel industry of the antitrust laws and principles as they apply to us, including avoiding even the appearance of telegraphing future business intentions, or using the press to facilitate consensus or coordination relating to future business strategies. Whether couched as a dream or vision, it’s wrong.
A forum discussion about the subject is underway at AgentNation, the online community for all travel agents. We invite agents to share their opinions on the matter.