American Express Business Travel Offers No GDS Surcharges with British Airways and Iberia

by Richard D'Ambrosio

American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) said it has reached a multi-year agreement with British Airways and Iberia that will allow its clients to avoid paying a surcharge on air fares through participating GDSs.

Starting Nov. 1, the two airlines will introduce a $10 fee for the airlines' fare components booked through global distribution systems (GDSs) and online booking tools (OBTs) used by travel management companies (TMCs) and their clients.

Travel agents have been struggling with airline distribution strategies, as carriers develop direct connections to avoid traditional GDS booking fees. In some cases, agents are signing direct agreements. If not, agents are forced to either absorb the fee or pass it through to customers.

The agreement also applies to reservations made via American Express Travel & Lifestyle Services and through a select number of American Express GBT franchise partners.

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