Orbitz April 2 began charging a $10 service fee on America West and Air Canada tickets—double the amount it charges for other airlines—because those two carriers eliminated commissions and are not paying the online agency any compensation in its place.
The Orbitz action is similar to an earlier move by Travelocity, which placed a $10 fee on United bookings in late March because that carrier stopped providing compensation. But Travelocity removed the fee April 4 because, a spokeswoman said, the company was “finalizing a broad marketing agreement” with United.
An Orbitz spokeswoman said “the company is “optimistic” about reaching compensation agreements with America West and Air Canada.
“We just want to get paid for the service we provide,” she said. “We are a travel agent, and we`ve always said we`re in the same boat as other agents to a large degree, in that when commissions go down we`re impacted.”
All of the other airlines that participate in Orbitz pay it either a commission or a fee, and the service fee on their tickets is $5.
Orbitz charges its fee on a buyer`s first and second ticket in a single transaction, but not the third and fourth, which means per-transaction fees are capped at $10 for most airlines and $20 for America West and Air Canada. The maximum number of tickets that can be bought in a single transaction is four.