Lufthansa, TPConnects Ink Agreement to Let Agents Avoid GDS Fee

Lufthansa A380 aircraft on runway

Lufthansa Group (LHG) and TPConnects have launched a new direct connection that will allow travel agents to avoid the airline group’s fee on GDS bookings.

In a statement provided to Travel Agent, TPConnects reports that the new connection is certified under the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) New Distribution Capability (NDC) standard, which allows travel agents access to rich content and ancillary products when selling air travel. LHG’s airlines, which include Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Swiss International Air Lines, are now integrated directly into TPConnects’ B2B Travel Aggregator platform and internet booking engine. Travel agents using the platform will have access to LHG’s real-time fares, product portfolio (including ancillaries), rich media and promotional fares.

TPConnects also noted that the connection would avoid LHG’s Distribution Cost Charge (DCC). That charge was launched in the summer of 2015, and applies to every booking channel using a GDS. At the time, LHG argued that the fee was necessary because the costs of using the GDS were higher than for other distribution channels, such as Lufthansa’s website, call center or ticket counter. Travel agencies are also able to book tickets without the DCC using the airline’s online portal at www.LHGroup-agent.com.

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This past summer, TPConnects launched a similar connection with British Airways and Iberia, who also assess a fee on GDS bookings.

While American Airlines has not implemented a new GDS fee since LHG, in August the airline announced a plan to pay travel agents commission for booking through its Qualified NDC Channel.

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