Here’s what happened
American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) has reached an agreement with British Airways and Iberia that will allow companies and travellers to avoid paying a surcharge on air fares through participating GDSs.
The two airlines announced in May that from November 1 they would introduce an £8 fee for the airlines’ fare components booked in indirect channels, which includes global distribution systems (GDSs) and online booking tools (OBTs) used by travel management companies (TMCs) and their clients.
However, American Express GBT’s clients are set to enjoy access to the airlines’ content, while avoiding the additional fee, after it agreed a multi-year deal to work with the airlines on future GDS distribution. The agreement applies to all GDS bookings, though each GDS is required to agree to the new arrangement with the airlines. Until now, one GDS has done so, while British Airways, Iberia and American Express GBT remain in active dialogue with the others. The agreement also applies to reservations made via American Express Travel & Lifestyle Services and through a select number of American Express GBT franchise partners.
In addition, American Express GBT, British Airways, Iberia and the GDSs will work together to evaluate how new distribution capabilities (NDC) – a technology standard developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) – could bring value to organisations using managed travel programmes.