The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) has asked Delta Air Lines to clarify its confusing Booking Enforcement Policy that has, in some cases, resulted in erroneous charges being sent to agents. ASTA said members have shared examples of Delta's audit system, sending out erroneous debit memos. In one case, Delta's automated schedule change system automatically inserted schedule changes on two cancelled segments, which in turn triggered Delta's duplicative audit check and tagged the PNR as a "Dupe" at a cost of $100 to the agent. ASTA said the issue could be brought to the attention of Congress, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Justice.
ASTA said that Delta has refused to discuss the issue with them, stating that Delta prefers to refer agents to "the documentation sent by Delta regarding (its) booking practices." Delta added "We believe this process is in the best interest of the Agencies, as it will enable each agency to get the answers directly from Delta to their specific inquiries." Delta's policy can be found at www.delta.com.
“[We're] concerned by the attitude expressed by Delta and its refusal to discuss the matter with the agency community," ASTA said in a statement. "Such arrogance may become the norm as the airlines merge, gain additional antitrust immunity for far-reaching alliances, and otherwise find ways to cooperate and disadvantage independent distribution that many consumers prefer. If you are wondering whether we can bring this situation to the attention of Congress and the Departments of Transportation and Justice, the answer is 'yes we can.'
“For now, if you determine that a charge is wrong, we strongly suggest that you dispute the charge directly with Delta and request supporting documentation within the time frame noted," the statement said. "If Delta's supporting documentation provides you with no clarity, you should again dispute the charge by providing an outline of your arguments along with back-up documentation (i.e. GDS PNR history, etc.). In addition, you should ask the airline to put a stop on the ARC draft while the dispute is in process. You should also advise ARC that you are disputing the charges with the airline and that ARC does not have your consent to debit your ARC checking account for this purpose,” ASTA said.
ASTA encouraged each agency to give Delta what it has demanded and provided a list of questions for member agents to ask. “According to Delta's policy, the 'per net passenger' fee applies to passive and inactive segments," ASTA said. "Also, there is a $50 'per passenger' service fee for other violations. The message found online reads '$3.50 per net passenger segment fee or a $50 service fee, depending on the nature of the violation.' We are advised that agents have been charged $50 per segment per passenger for duplicate segments, rather than a '$50 service fee.' In one example, the fee for a four passenger PNR with four segments was $800,” ASTA said. Additional details are available online.