n the face of it, American's decision
to charge 10 bucks for a paper ticket is not such a bad thing -- if
the carrier plays by its own rules.
American said the fee won't apply if the ticket is issued by a
travel agency, if the itinerary doesn't qualify for an e-ticket, if
the traveler pays full fare or has Executive Platinum status, or if
"a significant operational issue or job action" augers against
Fair enough. Alaska Airlines adopted a similar policy more than
two years ago, and the economic rationale at least makes some
sense. Moreover, AA's conditions seem designed to avoid unnecessary
passenger and agent ill will.
In fact, American notes that the new policy might even drive
customers into travel agencies. When's the last time an airline
took any pride in doing that?
A better mousetrap?
Three big European hotel companies, Hilton Group, Accor and
Forte, are launching a new cooperative Web site, called Andbook.
Maybe this is a trend: A group of competitors get together to
Internet distribution and save a few bucks in the process. But
is that what's happening?
According to Andbook, the site will use Amadeus. Its revenue
source will be commissions. It soon will add airline and car rental
bookings. Oh, one more thing: The three owners will have the
benefit of display bias, because their hotels will be on the first
That's it folks. Andbook isn't promising new technology to
"harness the power of the Internet." It isn't even promising to
bypass those pesky CRS companies. The owners apparently just want
to put up a biased hotel Web site and sit back and collect their
Sounds like they want to be bad travel agents.