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Fliers to soon be rid of transaction fee burden
Published on 14 Mar. 2010 12:13 AM IST
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Finally, some cheer for fliers. The transaction fee they had to pay travel agents, mostly for tickets on foreign carriers, will soon be done away with. Nine months after a directive by the Kerala high court, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Friday issued a directive that agents will have to stop charging transaction fee from customers, stated Times News. The agents had started levying this arbitrary fee after several airlines stopped paying them a commission. DGCA has now ordered the carriers to start paying up, pointing out that zero-commission has made consumers cough up more in the form of transaction fee. “An unscrupulous agent can charge an exorbitant amount. The system of zero-commission also gives rise to market dominance by some big agents, who are paid hefty amounts by the airlines in the name of productivity,” says DGCA. “Over 90% of Indian fliers travelling abroad — including corporate clients — purchase tickets via agents. The directive will let us sell tickets at the price that the airline sells over the counter or online,” said Travel Agents’ Federation of Eastern regional chairman Anil Panjabi. Regular passengers welcomed the order. “When I flew to New Jersey via Frankfurt last October, not only was the fare more than that stated on the web, different agents were charging different fares. I ended up paying 15% more than the actual ticket price,” said Ramanuj Sengupta, a private firm employee. Some 18 of 64 carriers operating in and out of India — KLM, Lufthansa, Delta and British Airways — stopped paying commission to agents in November 2008.

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