Delta has reduced front-end commissions on international
flights for U.S. travel agencies.
"I've been led to believe that this is across the board
for North America," an executive at Valerie Wilson Travel said. The
executive added that commission cuts for Valerie Wilson Travel went into effect
Thursday and were implemented with short notice.
Other travel agencies and consortia were hesitant to discuss
Delta's move. Travel Leaders Group and Ovation Corporate Travel said that they
don't discuss contracts with suppliers. Lisa Wheeler, a senior vice president
at Altour, said the agency is aware of what is going in the travel industry, "but
we wouldn't comment on our specific situation."
However, according to newsletter The Beat, which first
reported Delta's move on Friday, the commission cut extends to big New York agencies,
including Travel Leaders, Frosch and Valerie Wilson. The Beat said it had confirmation of the
cuts from multiple agency sources.
Delta declined to comment.
"We don't comment on the terms of our confidential
agreements," spokeswoman Susannah Thurston wrote in an email.
The Valerie Wilson executive said 70% of the company's Delta
international sales are for premium, front-of-the-plane tickets. The commission
cuts run deep on some routes. For example, the cut for London-U.S routes is 50%
and Nice-New York 18%.
The executive said that the independent contractors who sell
for Valerie Wilson could end up looking more to the American-British Airways
and United-Lufthansa joint ventures for transatlantic bookings.
"I hope after they see there is probably a shift in
share from us and other companies that they'll come back to us to have a
conversation," the executive said of Delta.