Think of this as the opposite of the €16 surcharge that Lufthansa Group is applying to tickets purchased via the traditional GDS/TMC channel. One happens if you buy in the GDS, the other happens if your LCC airline doesn’t play there.
Both of these surcharges annoy buyers. “What – you’re going to charge me more based on where I buy a ticket, or who I buy it from – that’s outrageous!”
In fact, it makes perfect sense. Lufthansa and GBT make the same point – their costs to process a purchase vary by channel. They both have found a way to allocate these costs to buyers, nay, the travelers, who use the higher-cost channel.
The benefit to buyers of these new surcharges are real, just less obvious. Those buyers who prefer the lower-cost channel will save some money…but those savings come with offsetting costs.
GBT makes a good argument about the extra costs it incurs when handling a non-GDS, non-ARC/BSP airline ticket. While most buyers don’t appreciate how much more work that is, they should admit there is some, and so it’s a fair question of how to allocate those costs.
In turn, this should force buyers to recognize the extra value they get whenever they buy in the higher-cost channel. For Lufthansa customers, this means using the GDS/TMC channel to provide comparison shopping, interline ticketing and immediate data capture, for a cost of 16 euros.
For buyers using low-cost carriers, you can have GBT book, track and handle those LCC tickets for $10.
It’s like having to drive 15 minutes out of your way to get lower prices at a Walmart…the sticker prices are lower, but you have to spend extra time and fuel to get ’em. Maybe you should just order the same thing from Amazon and pay a $10 delivery fee…
As a free-market fan, I’m in favor of offering these choices to buyers, rather than spreading the costs over all customers. It just seems fair.
The big question is whether other TMCs will follow GBT’s lead. In all fairness, I think they should. At the same $10 price? That’s another good question best left to a free market.