The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) is calling American Airlines' implementation of its NDC content an “unfair trade practice” and pushing for immediate action from the Department of Transportation (DOT).
In a draft complaint submitted late last month, ASTA alleges that American’s move caused “significant economic and non-economic injury” to consumers, advisors, TMCs, and more. The complaint says that American removed 40% of its fare inventory from legacy channels, which caused higher ticket prices for consumers and frustration for advisors and TMCs who could not fulfill their duty of care.
“As will be detailed below, while NDC may hold much promise for the future of air ticketing, the impact of its adoption on the entire air ticket distribution ecosystem – and in the manner imposed on the industry by AA – can scarcely be overstated,” the complaint reads.
As part of the complaint, ASTA’s Zane Kelby wrote in a letter to Jonathan Kanter, the Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division at the DOT, and Amanda N. Liskamm, Director, Consumer Protection Branch at the DOT, that antitrust issues should also be considered with the NDC adoption.
“Beyond the clearly foreseeable adverse impact on consumers as detailed above, forced adoption of NDC on an industry plainly unprepared also raises serious anticompetitive concerns which we respectfully submit also warrant review by the Department,” he said.
“To summarize, we suspect that AA has made a strategic decision to forsake short-term profits to achieve a stronger competitive position in the long term, one secured by denying complete access to its fare inventory.”
ASTA said it expects to further engage on the NDC issue with the DOT soon and will update its members on any new developments.