British Airways and sister carrier Iberia have announced that they will impose a distribution fee on all bookings made through a Global Distribution System (GDS) not employing an NDC-led connection.
The surcharge is due to come into force from November this year, covering fares in all cabins and classes. The BA strategy will see the consumer charged an added ‘tax’ fee or surcharge, which for travel agencies is considered a Non-Commissionable Fee (NCF).
Travel agents will be required to collect the fee and explain to their clients the reasons for the additional cost.
Channels that are exempt from the fee include its own website, airline sales offices and call centers, as well as:
- NDC direct connection
- NDC via an IT service provider/aggregator
- Self-booking tools connected to BA or IB via NDC
- Other travel processors (including GDS), that adopt NDC based connections in the future
The fee is being set to recover the higher cost of bookings through global distribution systems when compared with bookings made online or via call centers.
ACTA expressed its disappointment at the decision, with Wendy Paradis, president, stating, “Travellers need consistency, transparency and choice. This can only be accomplished by providing content in all distribution channels. A surcharge imposed for booking through a GDS is not in the best interest of the traveller or our industry.”