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Travel Agents

 September 17, 2001
ASTA Urges CRS Companies To Suspend Shortfall Penalties

 The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) today sent letters to the major Computer Reservations System (CRS) companies asking them to suspend all CRS penalties and extra charges for segment shortfalls until the year's end.

In the letter, ASTA President and CEO Richard M. Copland, CTC, stated, "The tragic events of last week have dramatically impacted the travel industry, as you well know. Agency subscribers of your system struggle to stay in business, as sales have plummeted and customers seek only to obtain refunds and reaccommodations."

He continued, "We understand that this severe downturn in business will also negatively impact your business, but we must seek solutions if you and your subscribers are to have a future. ASTA asks that you suspend charging agents for shortfalls on segment productivity from Sept. 11, 2001 until the end of this year, at the very least. The industry needs to get back on its feet. To do so, agents must focus first on helping those tragically impacted by these horrendous events and then begin the arduous task of building consumer confidence in the travel industry. It is going to take several months before business turns around.

"Many agencies may not survive. We know they will not survive if they do not have relief from some of their obligations or incur penalties for events totally out of their control. We ask now that you stand by your subscribers and help them during this critical time in American history."