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June 29, 2009News for travel agents

  Business and Industry Watch 
  • United's new merchant-fee policy raises concerns, questions
    In an analysis of United Airlines' new policy to not allow some travel agencies to use its merchant-agreement facilities, the Business Travel Coalition said agents will face a competitive disadvantage as well as higher costs. ASTA said the move would result in a transfer of costs from the airline to travel agents of roughly $171 million and said it would be contacting the Department of Justice. "The most troubling aspect of this scheme is that this attempt to shift airline sales costs to TAs and on to their customers would only work if the airlines act in concert with UAL to affect such a radical change; something in which the U.S. DOJ should take great interest," said Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the BTC. Travel Agent Central (6/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Ensemble joins ASTA in opposing United's credit move: Jack Mannix, chief executive at Ensemble, said United Airlines move to no longer allow certain travel agencies access to the carrier's merchant accounts is "incendiary." "Members began contacting Ensemble almost immediately, stating that although not yet impacted, they will now definitely consider other air carrier options," Mannix said. Travel Weekly (6/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Column: Travel agencies must prepare for United's shift: Columnist John Frenaye explains that United Airlines' decision to no longer allow some travel agencies to accept credit cards on behalf of the carrier is likely a tentative step in that direction for more airlines as well as travel agencies. He suggests that travel agencies prepare for such a move, even if they have not been contacted by United. Travel Research Online (6/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Agent reaction split on closure of Deilmann's river cruises
    The decision by Peter Deilmann Cruises to shutter its river cruise business was met with surprise by some travel agents, while others saw the move coming. "If you think about it, Americans and Brits would be the main demographic for European river cruises and we are far from recover[y]," said Sherry Laskin, owner of Vacation Shoppe and a member of the Travel Agent Advisory Board at CLIA. Travel Trade (6/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Trends and Technology 
  • Airfares likely to start climbing, analysts say
    Airfares have been declining for months as demand has dropped and travelers are concerned about the economy. With the price of jet fuel increasing and the Fourth of July quickly approaching, airfare analysts say some fares are likely to start rising again. However, many deals remain. Rick Seaney of said AirTran recently published fares on routes that are new lows for the market. USA TODAY/The Associated Press (6/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Business travel in Europe holds up well, survey finds
    The global economic downturn has raised concerns about travel, but it appears business travel in Europe is holding its ground and will likely to so for the next year, according to a survey commissioned by the National Business Travel Association. Of the 600 European business travelers surveyed, 62% said convenience is the top priority when booking travel. About a quarter said cost is the most important factor. Travel Agent Central (6/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Consumer Travel News 
  • New amenities make it right time to visit Athens
    The new Acropolis Museum alone is enough to draw visitors to Athens, but add in some lively eateries and funky hotels and it really is the right time to visit the Greek capital. Although there's still plenty of the ancient world to enjoy, Athens has a distinctly modern side to it. For example, at the Periscope Hotel, one can gaze at Ancient Greece from contemporary accommodations. The Times (London) (subscription required) (6/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Regulatory and Legislative 
  • DOT says SkyTeam airlines must prove beneficial to consumers
    The Department of Transportation has amended its order for SkyTeam carriers, including Delta Air Lines and Air France-KLM, to demonstrate they are "producing benefits for consumers." The carriers are operating under antitrust immunity. "It is clear that the SkyTeam carriers will engage in increasingly complex cooperation in the future," the DOT said in its order. "Given the size and complexity of the alliance, we think the public interest requires new reporting requirements to ensure that public benefits are being realized." (6/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • DOJ blasts antitrust immunity request for Star Alliance
    In a possible sign of increased antitrust activity by the Obama administration, the Justice Department on Friday issued a 58-page report outlining its strong opposition to increased cooperation among Continental Airlines and the nine members of the Star Alliance. The document, seen as a sharp rebuke to the Department of Transportation, said antitrust immunity for the alliance was "likely to result in harm" to international fliers, including higher fares, as well as additional harm on domestic routes. Jones Newswires (6/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Collapse of Clear casts doubt on future of Registered Traveler
    With the demise of Clear, the remaining two Registered Traveler vendors said they would honor their rival's cards. However, airport security will not accept the cards. It is unlikely that 250,000 travelers who paid for the Clear cards and its perks will receive a refund after the company ceased operations last week. Clear's demise could mean the end of the Registered Traveler program, which Congress mandated in 2001. Travel Weekly (6/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Best Practices 
  • Small gestures can make for inexpensive incentives
    As employers find themselves having to cut salaries and require unpaid vacations, little work incentives can mean a lot -- and they don't have to be expensive, FC expert blogger Shawn Graham writes. Some gestures that can go a long way in helping employees feel appreciated include buying the team breakfast once a week or offering them comp time to take a day off every other week for a month. Expert Blog (6/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Featured Content 

  ASTA Spotlight 
  • Member benefit spotlight
    ASTA Gives You More ... more than it did two years ago, such as Agency Specialization Databases. Marketing your products and services to ASTA members is easy when you order travel agent lists by specialization. ASTA has developed a unique member database that contains information on travel agency specialties in type of travel and geographic destinations. These mailing lists allow you to target your marketing materials to the agents who are most likely to sell your product. With continuous updates, you are always ensured of receiving the latest agent information possible. ASTA can conduct a custom database search and provide you with mailing lists, labels or diskettes based on agency specialization(s). Click here for more information. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Increase your business through ASTA's WebExchange
    Have you heard about ASTA's online business-to-business tool WebExchange? This online marketplace, available exclusively to ASTA members, allows travel professionals to exchange information about business opportunities, post special requests and find specific industry information instantly and conveniently through postings on the WebExchange. To start taking advantage of this opportunity, click here. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Learn more about ASTA ->Resources  |  Conferences  |  Consumer Travel Information  |  Join ASTA

Laughter is an instant vacation."
--Milton Berle,
comedian, actor

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