AMR Corp.: charging service fees

AMR Corp., the parent of American Airlines and American Eagle, said Thursday it will begin charging service fees for tickets purchased through U.S. reservation centers and airports, in a move to generate more than $25 million per year and remain competitive with low-cost carriers. Starting Sept. 6, American Airlines will charge a $5 fee for tickets purchased through its U.S. reservation offices, and a $10 fee for tickets purchased at U.S. airports. The company will continue to not charge a fee for self-booking and ticketing on its Web site. Service fees will be waived for AAdvantage Executive Platinum members and AAirpass customers. The nonrefundable fee will apply per ticket, whether it is one-way or roundtrip, and will apply to tickets redeemed from frequent-flyer programs, informsthe Forbes. According to Reuters, Northwest Airlines Corp. said on Thursday it canceled a new fee it charged travel agencies for a round-trip domestic ticket booked through global distribution systems, effective immediately. At the same time, Northwest, the No. 4 U.S. airline, extended fees on tickets purchased through its reservation call centers and at airport counters in the U.S. and Canada. A $7.50 fee on a round-trip ticket, which Minneapolis-based Northwest announced on Aug. 24 as part of a push to save $70 million by trimming costs, sparked a dispute with Sabre Holdings Corp. , which operate global distribution systems. Northwest hoped the move would drive customers to its Web site to buy tickets, which do not include ticketing fees. Cendant and Sabre Holdings said they would no longer prominently display Northwest fares on the schedules they provided to travel agents. Northwest sued Sabre for changing the way it displays fares on its computerized reservation system and Sabre sued the carrier for allegedly violating a contract between the two companies. On its other fee changes Thursday, also effective immediately, Northwest extended a $5 fee for each domestic ticket purchased through a reservation call center to include all tickets issued by U.S. call centers, including international travel. Northwest Airlines has pulled the plug on a controversial ticket-booking fee for travel agents, but held onto two new consumer charges. Northwest announced on Aug. 24 fee changes designed to reduce its ticket-selling costs by $70 million a year. But travel agents and the computer reservation companies they use for bookings joined forces to kill one of those fees. Northwest has been paying about $12.50 every time a travel agent books a Northwest ticket through a global distribution system (GDS). Last week, Northwest said it would require travel agencies to start paying $7.50 of that cost, the Minneapolis Star Tribune said. For more than a week, Northwest withstood the pressure from travel agencies and GDS companies but gave in when American Airlines refused to follow Northwest's lead. However, American, the world's largest carrier, matched Northwest's two new consumer fees. Now, both carriers will charge consumers $5 to buy tickets through call centers and $10 to buy them at airport ticket counters, publishes the Washington Times.

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