Delta to Pay 10 Percent Commission?

UPDATE, 4:25 p.m.

Delta’s 10 Percent: Limited Promotion with Targeted Accounts

For a brief shining moment, travel agents—and a few veteran reporters— had hope that there had been a turnaround in relations between Delta Air Lines and travel agents. Alas, the hope evaporated quickly. A spokesman for Delta Air Lines offered Travel Agent the following comment on reports of Delta offering a 10 percent commission:

“Delta Air Lines is offering a limited term promotional campaign on selected routes with targeted accounts that have an existing relationship with the company.  This specific promotion targets flights originating in the New York area to Delta's Latin America region only.”

That is it. At least until the next time Delta needs to spark sales.

The relationship between Delta Air Lines and travel agents has not been pretty as of late. But encouraging news is now on the horizon as The Association of Retail Travel Agents (ARTA) is reporting that Delta will pay travel agents a 10 percent commission on selected flights from the New York area. While unconfirmed by Delta, the first airline to cap commissions in 1995, ARTA says the policy change requires that flights originate at Newark, LaGuardia, JFK, White Plains and Stewart airports.

Commission is valid on Delta, Northwest and Delta Connection flights, ARTA says. The offer does not apply to infant, student, military or standby fares and blocked group space. "Delta is committed to the Latin American and Caribbean regions, and we appreciate your ongoing support," Delta said in an e-mail.

Delta will pay 10 percent commission on all flights and fare classes from the New York area to Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America on bookings made by June 30 for travel through December 15. Certain Thanksgiving dates, November 23-29, are blacked out. The promotion code or ticket designator is LCCA1.

While Delta and other airlines still pay commission to selected agency partners, a 10 percent base commission has not been seen since the mid-1990s. Pending clarification from Delta, the commission may impact only agents that have an ongoing preferred relationship with Delta.

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