I'm very dissapointed in American Airlines, while this has been know for a month or two now. We in the industry did not know the exact date and if this action was really going to be taken by AA. We all hoped AA's CEO, ownership would change their mind. Other airlines came out with statements saying they do not support AA's decision and think they are moving in the "wrong direction".
Last week AA (I'm not even going to call them American Airlines in this article after this line) announced that effective April 3rd, 2023 they will be pulling away from all travel agency support and reservation systems. This means travel agencies like mine, will no longer have a support desk for our clients, that travel agencies will no longer have sales reps to help support their clients and assistance with problematic issues that could arise with name changes and waivers. This also means AA will pull out of the airline supported GDS systems that we agencies use to make reservations with all carriers worldwide. & Lastly this means AA will stop immediately issuing agency commission contracts and incentive programs.....they seriously think they can get our business for free.
They went on to say they will allow access with the GDS where agencies can countinue making reservations on the carrier, without the need to book directly on AA's public site. ARE YOU SERIOUS AA?, you think the travel agency industry should still support you and place our valued clients on your flights, without any kind of compensation? Why should we continue to support you AA, when you do not have any more interest in supporting us?! Appears AA thinks we need them, and thinks we will have to resort to putting clients on their flights and force our hand.
YOU are Wrong AA, I'll just sell the partners and codeshares, I'll put clients on your flights but you will not get the revenue the codeshare carrier will. I'll sell it as British Airways or any other carrier I can and show them I support carriers that support us. Lufthansa tried this awhile back, and guess what happened, they fell flat on their faces, gave up on it and came back to support travel agencies, realizing their mistake.
If we give in to this attempt to force our hand, it's a downward slope and other carriers will see the success of AA, and create their own plans to pull away from travel agencies. The travel industry cannot let this be successful, we cannot support this action, we cannot let AA come in here and tell us what we are going to do & how. I don't think so AA.
I'm very happy to do flights for clients as part of travel planning and my clients accept the charges I include for air as part of my services, and that will continue. The benefits are my clients don't have to deal with the airlines themselves, I do, horrible schedule changes, cancellations, airlines randomly out of nowehere moving clients seats, attempt to reroute clients for no damn reason. These are just some of the typical issues I deal with as part of my air services to clients. It's absolutely insane for AA to even think we agencies will still deal with these issues and not have any kind of direct support from AA. So what, we are supposed to get on the public phone line and wait hours like any normal Joe/Jane to resolve flight issues, yet you could care less about us.
We are weary of this new integration they are telling us to use, and our ability to service AA tickets without a dedicated team at AA to assist, now with no assistance, clients who have already been booked on AA, we will no longer have a support desk at AA to help in the event help is needed.
Now look I'll be the first to admit on Economy fares very few carriers have commission contracts, and I ticketed AA alot in Economy because it's well known that AA is the cheapo, its product be it Economy/Extra/Business/First is always the least favored among clients and hence why it's typically the lowest priced, I mean there is a reason why its business class to Europe is 3-4k, when every one elses is 4.5-5k or higher. It's because even AA knows the other carriers product is better, and their product cannot be offered at the same price as the other carriers. Do you see those other carriers lowering their premium product classes to compete with AA, no you do not, and that says it all. When AA's product is the only option on a route that may leave me with no other choice, sure. However you can be sure I will always be keeping an eye out for codeshare and partners who continue to support us. It's really not about the commissions so much as those contracts come from Premium, Business & First on other carriers, and while AA will strip those agreements now, most clients understand the difference in these premium products and lean towards those other carriers anyways.
I will always do what is best for my clients, and if they want AA, well then I'll explain to them why I do not want to support AA, and may tell them to go take on that air reservation responsabilty yourself, and good luck if your need to deal with AA's public customer service for support.
Derek Schemonitz: Owner, CEO & President of