ASTA Angry Over Royal Caribbean Air Commissions Cut

Royal Caribbean International has taken a play from Carnival's playbook and dropped commission payments on the air portion of cruise sales. On Friday, the American Society of Travel Agents expressed its anger over Royal Caribbean's decision, which affects Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara Cruises, and is slated to take effect on air bookings made on or after November 1. Royal Caribbean had been paying 5 percent commissions in airline bookings made in tandem with cruise sales. "Recent feedback from agents has been more than disappointing," said William Maloney, ASTA's executive vice president and COO. "Agents have pointed out that while domestic usage was low and dropping, foreign airfares are another matter. With international cruising becoming increasingly popular, complex international airfares are neither easily nor readily available. Cruise lines that still offer competitive commissionable air will see an increase in market share. Although Royal Caribbean's decision is unpopular, ASTA says the policy change does not represent a financial disaster for its members. (DE)