While booking tickets for international flights you pay extra for your travel agent, but the commission never reaches him.
After an inquiry, the aviation regulatory body has pulled up 14 international airlines, including Continental Airlines, Delta Airline, Air France, British Airways, Qatar Airways and served them show-cause notices.
The Directorate General of Civil (DGCA) also asked the airlines why this burden has been passed on to passengers. “We have asked them to reply in 10 days,” said Nasim Zaidi, DGCA chief.
The component called transaction fee is 5 per cent of the air ticket that ranges from Rs 350 to Rs 2,500, depending on the destination.
Last year, travel agents had moved the Karnataka High Court after airlines reduced the commission from 7 per cent to 5. To make matters worse, airlines now don’t want to pay them any commission.
“Instead they want us to charge passengers,” said Ajay Prakash, general secretary, Travel Agents Federation of India. Subsequently, the court asked the regulator to examine the matter and submit a report.
The show-cause notice pointed out a provision in the International Air Transport Association (IATA) which states that airlines can give commission at a fixed rate, but it cannot be zero per cent.
Rajender Rai, president of the Travel Agents Association of India, said: “A travel agent services the customer on behalf of the airline, hence it is only fair that the airline pay the commission to us. We will not charge the customer a transaction fee.”