In Response to Timothy O’Neil-Dunne re: Travelport And BA Negotiations

Travelport does not disclose the details of our agreements with customers and partners as they are confidential, but we nevertheless feel compelled to write to set the record straight regarding Timothy O'Neil-Dunne’s blog post (20 December 2009) alluding to the negotiations and subsequent long-term, global full content agreement between Travelport and British Airways. On this subject, Mr. O'Neil-Dunne has stated several factual inaccuracies in his post and overall, has made an unfair and misleading characterization of our agreement. [more]  

For example, the opt-in fee levels Mr. O'Neil-Dunne cites are inaccurate: £3 is the surcharge levied if an agent does not opt-in. The opt-in fee levels are actually either £1 or £0.50 per segment, depending on which fare class is booked, applicable to bookings made in the home market of BA (UK and Ireland) only. 

Mr. O'Neil-Dunne's assertion that BA "is not the only airline to charge a home vs. away market model" is also rather misleading. It is actually Travelport, rather than the airline, that provides differentiated home and away fees to reflect the relative value-added by delivering international segments alongside domestic business. 

It is, however, true that all airlines do have different sales and marketing policies and deal structures to customers and travel agencies alike in their home market where they have a powerful brand and a significant route structure compared to the countries they fly to. It was ever thus.

Finally, the reference to KLM introducing a purported £6 ticketing fee in "many markets" is not something that Travelport recognizes. Our full-content commitments with KLM mean that no such surcharge or fees relating to either bookings or tickets issued from Galileo, Apollo or Worldspan GDSs for this carrier can or will be introduced in January, as stated. This may not be the case with our competitor GDSs, but we would be surprised.

The tenor of the post characterizes current GDS/airline discussions as a "battle royal" and asserts that "many battles will be fought." If anything, this is proving to be the "legacy" view and certainly does not reflect Travelport's recent experience. 

Our negotiations with BA were highly constructive and both parties were very pleased with the outcome. While we cannot go into specifics, the agreed terms reached did not involve the traditional 'locking of horns' that has typified GDS-airline negotiations in years past. The new relationship we have with BA means that we are working closely together to cater for tomorrow's distribution environment--including the distribution through our GDS of merchandised content for this airline--actually widening the scope of the content we will deliver beyond all fares and all seat availability. We believe that this is good for travel agencies and also good for the traveler who elects to buy through an agency.


Matthew Hall
Vice President, Supplier Business Development
Travelport GDS