Finding the best flight is becoming more expensive and time consuming as airlines increasingly post different fare types and classes in the various booking channels. The neutral and complete fare display provided by agents is in danger of disappearing.
Agents provide customers with a neutral and complete fare display through the regulated Computerised Reservation Systems, CRSs.
There is a European legislation on CRS aiming to ensure that air ticket distribution is made through a neutral display and on a non-discriminatory basis. However, this legislation is no longer adapted to the technological developments, such as internet sales. As a consequence, there is an increasing trend of airlines to provide their fares at different prices and conditions depending on whether the customer buys online or whether he buys through a CRS used by an agent.
If airlines increasingly discriminate the various booking channels, it will require more time and money to find the optimal flight, costs which will ultimately be paid by the customer.
ECTAA calls on the EU legislators to maintain and adapt the current legislation on CRS. In particular airlines should be required to provide full access to all fare types and availabilities at no additional cost.
Said President Jan Van Steen: “If the European legislation is not adapted to the new market environment, then we loose the functionality of a neutral and complete display of fares provided by CRSs. This would bring us 30 years back, where information was completely decentralised. With an increasing offer of routes and fares, losing a centralised information tool would be detrimental for agents and their customers. ”
Date of publication: 31/01/07