British Airways is giving travel agencies an option to avoid the airline’s $10 GDS booking surcharge, to be put in place Nov. 1. The airline has partnered with TPConnects to establish a direct connect to British Airways’ res system. The connection has IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) standards, giving agents access to ancillary services, rich content like photos and videos, and personalized preferences. They will also have the ability to perform after-sales services like refunds and flight changes. TPConnects said it holds the highest level of IATA NDC certification as an NDC IT provider and aggregator. BA’s content will be shown in the same search results as other carriers.
TPConnects said nearly 100 travel agencies have signed up to use its Travel Aggregator Platform this week. Its target customers are agents or TMCs looking for a platform that includes a corporate booking tool and mobile app. The B2B travel platform itself is hosted on an Amazon.com server, and agents are provided login information to access its features. To sign up, a one-time setup fee is applied. TPConnects said it is “less than $3,000.” Then, a per-passenger recurring usage cost of “less than $1.25” is charged going forward, the company said.