In an effort to avoid consumer confusion with new Northwest Airlines’ fees, Sabre Travel Network, a Sabre Holdings (NYSE:TSG) company, today announced that it will begin including Northwest’s fare supplement as part of the shopping and pricing displays that are in the Sabre global distribution system (GDS) for tickets issued on or after September 1, 2004.
Once implemented, when Sabre-connected agents shop for fares, the Northwest fares will be displayed at a higher price that reflects the applicable charges. For example, in the case of a Northwest $200 roundtrip in the U.S., the total price listed in the Sabre GDS will now be $207.50, which includes the Northwest imposed fare supplement of $7.50. In the Sabre GDS, this will also apply to searches that check for the lowest-priced available flight. At the time of actual ticketing, the fee will not be shown directly on the ticket, reflecting Northwest’s stated collection process.
With the full disclosure of the total price charged by Northwest, Sabre is ensuring that the fare supplement is fully disclosed. While not required of Sabre, this approach reflects the Department of Transportation’s long-standing policy requiring airlines to include “the entire price to be paid by the customer to the air carrier” in any advertising or solicitation.
This move is in response to Northwest’s recent announcement that it plans to add a fare supplement on domestic tickets issued in the U.S. and Canada through a GDS effective September 1, 2004.
“Travel agencies, corporations and the organizations that represent them have told us, loud and clear, that the Northwest ticketing fee is in reality a fare increase. Sabre agrees with this view and, therefore, we have elected to include these charges in shopping and pricing displays utilized by agencies and corporations,” said John Stow, president, Sabre Travel Network. “We are providing an innovative solution for our customers to manage this issue.”