Sabre Offers Bonuses on Certain Bookings

Sabre Holdings is turning up the heat in its ongoing war with American Airlines a few degrees. The GDS provider informed clients it will pay a "promotional bonus" for booking other carriers who have signed on to its Efficient Access Solution program. Those carriers include Delta, United, U.S. Airways, Northwest, Continental, AirTran and Alaska Airlines. Now agencies stand to not only reap the promotional bonus from those airlines, but also their regular booking incentive. The "promotional bonus" will take effect Sept. 1, or the same day AA plans to begin charging agencies $3.50 per segment booking fees. The bonus will be different for each agency. In a memo sent to agencies last week, Sabre spelled it out: "The EAS promotional bonus will be set at an amount that, based on your historical booking mix, the bonuses will combine with the incentives you earn on AA bookings to fully offset the $3.50 service fees—leaving you in a zero net pay situation for AA bookings. The per booking bonus amount will be fixed for the promotional period—and the bonus will be paid monthly during the promotional period." Sabre left the "promotional period" open ended. The GDS provider refused to comment specifically on the promotion, only saying through a spokeswoman, "We continue to want to be supportive of our travel agents and to be considerate of our EAS carriers who have signed long-term agreements." American Airlines has not signed on to the EAS program. The airline, according to Sabre, plans to charge EAS agencies the $3.50 segment booking fees.

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