British Airways, Iberia Become Latest Airlines to Add Booking Fee

British Airways

British Airways and Iberia have become the latest airlines to begin charging a fee on flights booked through certain GDS connections.

According to a statement from the two airlines provided to Travel Agent, the two airlines will begin applying a charge of 8 pounds per fare component to any bookings not made using an NDC-based connection, starting November 1.

“We will continue to work with the GDS providers to distribute our content to our valued agency partners via existing solutions, however these systems and their traditional technology solutions currently carry significantly greater costs,” the airlines wrote in a letter to travel agencies. “We are also continuing to work with the GDSs on potential NDC connectivity.”

The charge will not apply to bookings made through the airlines’ websites, sales offices and call centers. It will also be charged as 9.50 euros or US$10.

The move is similar to Lufthansa’s decision to introduce a 16 euro fee back in 2015 for bookings made through a GDS. In announcing the new policy, Lufthansa also cited the growing cost of distribution through GDS in its reasoning at the time. The new policy drew broad criticism from travel industry groups and travel agents, with then-Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben arguing that the move would place Lufthansa “at a competitive disadvantage on airfare pricing.”

In April, Ukraine International (UIA) also introduced a fee for non-partnered travel agents when booking tickets on behalf of their clients using a GDS.

The NDC (new distribution capability) is a new standard for XML-based data transmission.

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