ARTA and ARTA Canada Say that U.S. DOT Decision
Underscores the Need for Alternative Distribution Platforms:
Hail Agreement between Delta Air Lines and Farelogix
as Further Evidence that New Booking Tools are Emerging

Change is Coming and Agents Need to Evaluate Their Options

Scottsdale, Arizona and Toronto, Ontario - 20 April 2011: The Association of Retail Travel Agents (ARTA) and the Association of Retail Travel Agents - Canada (ARTA Canada) stated that today's decision by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to defer any action to require airlines to provide ancillary fee data to GDSs underscores the two associations' position that travel agents must explore and evaluate alternative distribution and booking tools.

The two associations have long held that governments will not force air carriers to provide ancillary fee data to GDSs, as such a requirement would interfere with the carriers' ability to negotiate better overall terms with distribution companies. ARTA and ARTA Canada have repeatedly stated that the traditional GDS model continues to limit functionality, content, and agent profitability by continually placing travel agent subscribers in the middle of all too frequent airline/GDS disagreements and product presentation disputes. Airlines want better terms, better display criteria, and better product differentiation and are actively seeking new, more cost-efficient platforms to distribute their products and services via the travel agency sales channel.

"Other agency groups hung their hopes on the supposition that the Government would step in and mandate the delivery of this data. We knew from the start that this would be wishful thinking and that agents needed to start exploring those distribution platforms with which airlines were collaborating. We feel vindicated in being among the few agency voices which could see beyond the rhetoric and engage support for new, more content-rich platforms. The DOT said it won't intervene, and we never expected that it would", said ARTA Canada President and ARTA Managing Director Bruce Bishins, CTC.

In its ruling, the DOT stated:

"We cannot at this time agree that it is in the public interest to mandate that step, since we lack additional information about costs, benefits and consequences of requiring U.S. and foreign carriers to provide ancillary fee information to GDSs ... the Department wants to ensure that any action it takes does not have unintended consequences, particularly given the sensitive nature of the market and the negotiations currently taking place between carriers and GDSs."

While the DOT did enact some rules to make fees more transparent and more visible in the earlier stages of the booking process, both at carriers and via travel agencies, the full deployment of ancillary fees across all booking channels remains a negotiation between distribution companies and airlines.

ARTA and ARTA Canada will continue to support those tools and platforms which offer agents more robust content and which adopt the Open AXIS Group Distribution 2.0 initiative. In this regard, the two associations applauded the agreement announced today between Delta Air Lines and Farelogix to provide an ARC-enabled booking option to sell and settle the complete array of Delta's products and service. Farelogix is one of the preeminent providers of XML connectivity and booking tools adopting the Open AXIS Group standard, an industry standard which Farelogix itself help create.

About ARTA 

ARTA has always been at the forefront of those industry changes which have strengthened the agency community. Founded in 1963, and for the past 47 years, the Association of Retail Travel Agents is the largest non-profit association in North America that represents travel agents exclusively. 

ARTA is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona. ARTA is the strategic partner of Canadian-based ARTA Canada. For more information about ARTA, please visit:

About ARTA Canada

ARTA Canada is the largest non-profit federally incorporated professional association of travel retailers in Canada, the members of which consist exclusively of travel agencies and travel agents. In addition to advocating fair and equitable treatment of travel consumers, ARTA Canada represents the commercial and strategic interests of its member travel agencies and travel agents in a variety of national and provincial domains including regulatory and legislative matters, automation, technology, sales and marketing, and distribution.

ARTA Canada is based in Toronto and is the strategic partner in Canada of the U.S.-based Association of Retail Travel Agents (ARTA).

Complete details about ARTA Canada's new $99 membership campaign for 2011 and an online ARTA Canada membership application and secure payment are available on its web site at

    ARTA  |  4320 North Miller Road  |  Scottsdale, Arizona, USA  |  85251 

  ARTA Canada  |  61 Hayden Street  |  Toronto, Ontario, Canada  |  M4Y 2P2