British Airways distribution fee met with irritation (but not scorn)

Reaction to the introduction by British Airways of a surcharge on tickets sold on non-NDC systems has been less hysterical than some might have anticipated.

When Lufthansa shocked many in the industry two years ago with its fee on every GDS booking there was mild contempt for the move from some quarters.

BA and Iberia will impose the £8 surcharge from November this year, covering fares in all cabins and classes.

Channels that are exempt include their own websites, airline sales offices and call centres, as well as NDC-approved connections.

Amadeus, in a statement, says it is working with IAG (parent group of BA and Iberia) to find a solution to integrate NDC-based API content from the content to its agencies.

An official adds that it does not think a surcharge is in the “best interests of travellers” and believes that “indirect distribution remains the cost-efficient solution for all parties on a global scale”.

“Within the context of NDC, our vision is to develop an integrated solution that can be widely adopted by both travel agencies and airlines to deliver sustainable results at a scale that matters.”

GDSs are clearly operating in more diplomatic times.

Along with their business travel counterparts, such as Carlson Wagonlit Travel.

A CWT official says the company supports the objectives of NDC to improve transparency.

He adds:

“However, situations where certain parties, leveraging their market position, unilaterally seek to impose changes to distribution that reduce comparison shopping, impose content fragmentation, drive technical and operational inefficiency, and shift distribution costs to the highest yielding channel and customer base, are not productive.”

In other words: this is awkward.

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