The reduced commission -- often $10 maximum per booking -- many
airlines pay to Internet-based travel agencies, compared with the
generous pay issued to traditional agencies, is unfair and
detrimental to the growth of a valuable new distribution channel.
So complained a number of on-line travel services during a forum at
the PhoCusWright Live '98 conference in Phoenix. Most notably, Rich
Barton from Microsoft Expedia charged that airlines "are squeezing
the agencies. You know we can't do it on $10. Enough is enough."
Hear that low rumbling sound? That's the sound of thousands of
traditional agents across the U.S. chanting, "Welcome to the block,
Southwest is rumored to be eyeing the New York metropolitan
market. Hear that distant rattling sound? That's the sound of major
carriers with a presence at Newark, LaGuardia or Kennedy quaking in