Travel advisors, already hit hard in 2020 and 2021 by the COVID-19 pandemic and the dramatic drop in travel, have been slammed again.
Instead of enjoying a return of traditional commissions from the increase in demand for air travel, agents have been met with a harsh decision by Qantas Airways and several other major carriers.
A drastic cut in commission percentages.
According to a story in the Australian version of The Daily Mail, Qantas on Friday put into practice what it said it would do back in May, cutting commissions from five percent per ticket to just one percent – and 80 percent reduction.
The article noted that Emirates Airlines, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and U.S.-based carriers American Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines also planned to follow suit.
Ostensibly, the move is to save the airlines even more money. But the backlash could be more costly – at least one travel advisor said she would think twice now before booking a client on Qantas.
“It’s hardly worth turning on the PC for the pittance that we would be paid,” said Jodie Quick, Director of Meridian Travel & Cruise. “Agents who don’t add fees, well, they may as well start packing up their desk now.”
Quick said that there are few airlines left that still pay a reasonable commission, but the dwindling number could be a death knell for the travel advisory industry. She hopes that the traveling public will realize the difference a travel agent can make, such as getting that midnight phone call and jumping into action for a client, who might otherwise be waiting for hours for a call center representative.
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