Travel agents must be vigilant about codeshare price discrepancies and act to protect their clients from overpaying, said Zane Kerby, ASTA's president and chief operating officer, commenting on reports that the new codeshare deal between American Airlines and US Airways has struck a pot-hole.
Kirby noted that the price for some code-share flights varies by more than double, depending on which airline it is booked.
These concerns are in addition to the mandatory disclosures of codeshares required by Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations, which was addressed by ASTA in a Member Alert on January 14, Kirby noted.
Since a consumer using the Internet on her own may not discover the discrepancy, it is especially important that agents act to prevent overpaying, Kirby said.
In the reports, an unnamed American spokesperson was quoted saying the price discrepancies will stop when the carriers adopt “common technology platforms,” Kirby commented.
“There is no current information on when that may happen. The technology integrations of other large merging airlines have often been plagued with problems, so this issue may last a while,” Kirby said.
“The evidence continues to grow,” added Kerby, “that in our ever-more complex marketplace, having a guide and mentor, someone to watch your back, is essential. This incident makes it even clearer that “Without a Travel Agent, You’re on Your Own,” Kerby said, underscoring the value of agents to the traveling public.
American Airlines and US Airways recently offered customers improved access to the combined company's global network through the first phase of a codeshare. Beginning Jan. 13, the airlines said customers can book flights on both airlines' networks through the codeshare for travel starting Jan. 23.
Through the codeshare, each airline will sell tickets operated by the other carrier using its own code and flight number, and customers will be able to easily combine select flights operated by each airline on a single itinerary when booking travel on aa.com, usairways.com, or through other travel distribution channels, the airline said.