13 April 2011

1 Blind Mouse

Hickdory Dickory Dock, the mouse ran up the clock. The clock struck one and the rest of the industry died in a nuclear holocaust.

OK so its a parody but it hides a very serious message.

I read today the latest missive from the kitchen table in Radnor PA. BTC released yet another of its fine episodes in "as the world turns"


"For two and one-half years, despite major corporations’ substantial collective purchasing power and their continuing calls for full disclosure of fee data, airlines have refused to provide the travel agency sales channel with this vital information. This refusal is well-defined evidence of a marketplace that is not functioning properly." END QUOTE.

Well this is not the case.

Each airline is obliged by law to explain its pricing and provide that information to the public. It so does - or risks the wrath of every consumer protection and government regulatory body under the sun.

And let me be clear - there have been transgressions in the past.

But in the main the US airlines are good at this. They provide the information to the consumers and to the agency community.

A long time ago - the airlines got tired of using the rather poor legacy GDS vehicles for disclosure of information. Instead they turned to the preferred form of communication that the vast majority of both consumers and travel agents use today - namely the Internet.

C'mon guys. No one owes anyone a living. Comparative shopping COULD have been easily provided in an innovative form by these GDS players but they chose not to. Consequently this is why Google stepped into the game and bought ITA for $700 million. If the GDSs had done their job well and in a time when there was good cooperation with the airlines - then companies like ITA and Everbread etc would not have been able to come into being. So let us not shed a tear for companies who today make between 27% (Travelport 2010 Q4 numbers) to more than 46% profit on their GDS operations. (Amadeus 2010 annual report).

And this continual obfuscation over the real issues is just INSANE.

Everyone should as a matter of course READ the complaint in full. Then make up your mind. There is a lot of information that should give food for thought to a lot of people. Surprisingly I found it very informative as an eye opener onto the issues.

DO NOT DISMISS THE CONTENT & DETAIL. It has relevance for everyone concerned with this debate.

DO NOT JUDGE until you have read the document and the expected responses from Travelport. I hope that the complaint comes to trial early but alas I fear that American justice moves at a slow pace. About the only thing I agree with the Press Release is the following statement:

"Expensive and years-long court proceedings"


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