Delta and British Airways now in Indian Travel Agents sights
Tuesday, 6 January 2009: The standoff between Indian Travel Agents and airlines continues as the associations name two more big hitters on their potential boycott list: British Airways and Delta Air Lines.
It has been revealed that the two major global carriers last week send letters to travel agent associations in India saying that current “substantial challenges” meant that they would be withdrawing their commission levels.
“We are going to send out a strong message to Delta and British Airways—they should either pay us commissions or they will have to stop flight operations in India,” said Rajji Rai, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) President, to India’s Economic Times.
“If they don’t accept our demand [of 5% commission], agents will take a call on boycott in the first week of January. We will call a meeting of all the six big travel agents’ associations.”
The six largest travel agent associations will be in talks for the next week to discuss what actions to take.
He adds that requesting a level of reimbursement for selling international tickets is reasonable, as international tickets sales see agents provide extra help with issues regarding visas, passports, foreign currency and insurance matters.
Currently, the six large travel agent associations are boycotting Singapore Airlines for its withdrawal of agents’ commission.
Following failed negotiations with the Singaporean carrier, Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI), Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), IATA Agents Association of India (IAAI), Association of Domestic Tour Operators in India (ADTOI) and Enterprising Travel Association of India (ETAA) have all stopped selling the tickets indefinitely.
Similar actions in late 2008 saw domestic carriers Jet Airways, Air India and Kingfisher all re-instate agents’ commissions.