Author`s name Pravda.Ru

Airlines find new ways to increase their income

To the long list of things that used to be free but that airlines now want you to pay for, add walking up to the counter to buy a ticket. Northwest Airlines said Tuesday that, starting on Friday, it would charge a $10 fee for issuing tickets at its airport check-in desks. A $5 fee will be charged on every ticket purchased over the telephone from its reservation lines. The only way to buy a ticket from Northwest without paying an extra fee will be through the airline's Web site. It sells about 16 percent of its tickets that way; 22 percent are bought over the phone, and only about 2 percent in person at airports. The rest are sold through travel agents or through Web sites that make travel bookings, informs the International Herald Tribune. Accrding to Forbes, The airline alleges the unit of Sabre Holdings Corp., which owns the online travel site Travelocity, has instituted measures making it more difficult for travel agents to sell tickets for Northwest flights, breaching a July 2003 contract. While Northwest did not elaborate on what measures Sabre allegedly took, the company said the actions were in connection with Northwest's Aug. 24 announcement they were taking steps to align their distribution costs to compete with low-cost airlines. A response from Sabre about the lawsuit was not immediately available. Shares of Northwest fell 3 cents, or less than 1 percent, to $9.79 in afternoon trading on the Nasdaq, while New York Stock Exchange-listed shares of Sabre fell $1.77, or 7.3 percent to $22.50. Reuters reports that a dispute between Northwest Airlines Corp. (NWAC.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and Sabre Holdings Corp. (TSG.N: Quote, Profile, Research) intensified on Wednesday as the airline sued Sabre for changing the way it displays fares on its computerized reservation system. Sabre shares slid to a five-month low, a day after Northwest said it would charge travel agencies a new fee for booking tickets through a global distribution system such as Sabre's. Analysts said Northwest's move sparked jitters about the future of the travel distribution industry, including Sabre, which operates the world's largest computerized reservation system. Northwest hopes the action will drive customers to its Web site and, along with new charges for tickets bought by phone and in airports, help trim $70 million off its domestic distribution costs. Read earlier news stories by PRAVDA.Ru