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The unfair airline move costing agents millions


On 1 July, Qantas will slash its travel agent commission to one percent. And it isn’t alone, with other major airlines including Emirates, Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines all following suit. 

 

According Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) boss Dean Long so doing would pile “huge pressure” on covid-weary agents.

 

With less competition, passengers will book online, direct with the airline. 

 

And with people now reporting they are spending more time on hold with an airline than they are actually flying with them, passengers and travel agents both lose. 

 

"It is unfair," Long told 9 News. 

 

“This is purely a cost shift by the majority of the airlines."

 

Given the inherent uncertainty international air travel during and coming out of a pandemic brings, agents are now investing more and more time in ticket bookings, Long said.

 

Once tickets are booked, agents are going back into the booking system multiple times to "touch" a ticket to make itinerary changes or checks, he said, so cutting commissions in the current environment was a bitter pill to swallow.

 

Calling the decision "very disappointing", Long claimed that lost commissions would cost Australian travel agents "in the millions".

 

But Qantas executive Igor Kwiatkowski said that airlines too are hurting and changing commissions would help Qantas try and reduce its operation costs by $1 billion each year.

 

"Maintaining the status quo around our commission structure is no longer viable,’’ he said.

 

Long, however, isn’t buying the excuse. 

 

"Let's be honest, airline commissions haven't cost the airline industry a cent for the last two years, because you only get paid a commission on what you sell.

 

“So the idea that these decisions have to be made at the worst economic trading conditions the travel industry has faced in 100 years is just not correct."

 
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