Air Transport World

Commissions in decline: airlines' travel agent expense continues downward in the face of caps, ticketless travel and general cost cutting.

Airlines' travel agent expense continues downward in the face of caps, ticketless travel and general cost cutting

The steep and seemingly inexorable climb in travel agents' commission expense that began with U.S. airline deregulation in 1978 was reversed in 1994 and the nosedive intensified in the early part of 1995 as commission caps, ticketless travel and overall cost-cutting continued to spread.

Among the 54 airlines from whom data were obtained in ATW's annual survey (see tables), commission expense fell 1.9% in 1994 to $8 billion and the portion of passenger revenues paid out in commissions dropped to 10.4% from 11% in 1993. In early 1995, total commission expense was down 7. …

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