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Beware of Travel Agents Bearing America West Tickets

A program for travel agents that is being used by America West and US Airways encourages agents to charge consumers a higher than published fare in exchange for a higher commission. The so-called Commission Choice program essentially increases the fare America West and US Airways charge so that agents can use the difference as their commission. This would not be a big deal, but the unspoken agreement is that agents won’t tell clients about charging a higher fare. This is, of course, nonsense, as travelers can easily check the prevailing fare, and agents will take the brunt of the customer annoyance. I’m not actually against the system—hell, everyone should charge whatever they want. But it seems unfair for the airline to tacitly encourage agents to overcharge passengers. (gee, that’s really taking a stand…)

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