Executive Travel CEO Steve Glenn has set his sights on "zero/zero," as in $0 in fees for online bookings and $0 for offline bookings. He thinks he's found the path, and it involves a financial model tied to client revenue performance, blockchain-based smart contracting and data access that gives transparency to each side.
As anticipated, the U.S. Department of Transportation this week officially withdrew a proposed rulemaking that would have required airlines and ticket agents to disclose at all points of sale itinerary-specific details on applicable fees for up to two checked bags and carry-on luggage.
BCD Travel revealed details of a new worldwide fee program to handle for clients airline bookings made outside global distribution systems. BCD joins other mega travel management companies: Carlson Wagonlit Travel broadly enacted a similar initiative last month, following American Express Global Business Travel's move in 2016 to institutionalize fees for bookings that don't conform to industry booking standards.
There is no shortage of travel players targeting the unmanaged business travel segment. Startups, entrenched tech providers and travel management companies alike have formulated offerings for the vast but fragmented sector.
In 2010, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, conducted a deep dive into ancillary airline fees and concluded "consumers could benefit from better information about airline-imposed fees."
More than three months after Air France-KLM introduced a surcharge on global distribution system bookings, Sabre and the airline group are at an impasse on reaching a private channel deal that would enable Sabre's agency subscribers selected by the airline group to book without fee.
As the only remaining defendant in a consumer-led lawsuit against the three major global distribution systems, Sabre has moved to settle out of court with each of the remaining plaintiffs.
United Airlines, airline settlement clearinghouse ARC, a large corporate client of United and travel blockchain entrant Blockskye have completed a proof of concept to examine reporting and settlement through a blockchain ledger for flights booked on the airline's website.
With the clock ticking, Sabre and Travelport are nearing distribution arrangements that will help shield select travel management companies from the booking surcharge British Airways and Iberia plan to enact on Wednesday.
With less than two weeks to go before Air France-KLM enacts an 11 euro per-way surcharge on global distribution system bookings, the Franco-Dutch airline group remains in discussions with GDS operators on private-channel arrangements that could shield select travel agencies from the fee.