ASTA is warning travel agents that the $17.50 booking surcharge that Lufthansa Group will implement on Sept. 1 will be nonrefundable, even on
fully refundable tickets.
to ticketing, the travel agent should disclose to the client that if he/she elects
to refund the ticket, the [distribution cost charge] will not be refunded,”
ASTA advised agents.
In an emailed response to a Travel Weekly inquiry, Lufthansa
spokeswoman Claudia Lange said that manual intervention would only be required
in cases in which agents are using software that can't read the fare filing
reminder comes as the travel industry readies for implementation of the
groundbreaking distribution charge, which will apply to all GDS bookings for
flights on Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Swiss
International Air Lines. Lufthansa Group won't levy the charge on direct
also informed agents that they may need to manually intervene while processing
refunds of Lufthansa tickets in order to make sure the distribution cost charge
is not refunded, as well. Otherwise, ASTA said, it assumes agents will receive
didn't immediately respond to a Travel Weekly inquiry Thursday about whether
ASTA's assumption is correct.
ASTA is issuing words of caution to agents, the Global Business Travel
Association is taking its latest stand against the GDS booking surcharge. On
Thursday, GBTA said that a poll of its membership shows that 50%
of travel buyers for whom Lufthansa is a preferred carrier plan to
decrease spending with the airline group once the surcharge takes effect.
Additionally, according to GBTA, 51% of respondents said they probably
won't or definitely won't use Lufthansa as a preferred carrier if it implements
and leisure travel agents in both the United States and Europe worry that the surcharge will upend the travel sales industry’s business and distribution models.
The European Travel Agents' and Tour Operators' Association has filed a
complaint with the European Commission alleging that the fee is an illegal,
anti-competitive practice. The Business Travel Coalition in the U.S. made
similar charges in a letter that it copied to the Justice Department and the
European Commission on Aug. 13.
maintains that the charge is legal.