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Northwest to Charge Agents GDS Booking Fees

Northwest Airlines announced today that effective September 1,
2004, it will begin charging travel agents $7.50
roundtrip or $3.75 one-way for bookings made in a Global Distribution
System (GDS) for travel within the 50 United
States. Northwest will send agents a monthly invoice to collect this
fee.In addition, effective August 27, 2004, Northwest plans to charge
consumers a $5 fee for bookings made through its
call centers and a $10 ticket fee for tickets purchased an Airport
Ticket Office (ATO) for travel within the 50 United

NW’s announcement to agents makes clear that it wants to drive you to
book on NW’s website, without addressing
the fact that airline website bookings are not a complete substitute for
GDS services.  Huge inefficiencies in
management of the agency front office and customer service will result
with respect to NW bookings. 

NW’s announcement reflects a failing business strategy and inability to
compete with low-cost carriers. NW’s solution
is to impose the cost of its failure on travel agents in a move that
will ultimately result in higher costs for consumers
doing business with it. 

“NW calls this a Shared GDS Fee, which implies they are doing something
good for us,” said Richard Copland,
ASTA President & CEO.  “My answer is: don’t do me any favors.  When I
want you to share your costs with me, I’ll let
you know.  It is insulting to be sent a message that says NW is
‘sharing’ with me, when what they are doing is pushing
their costs on to my business and my customers.”