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Travel Agents Help Consumers Save Under New Airline Pricing Structure
American Society of Travel Agents

The American Society of Travel Agents recently discovered several U.S.-based airlines, including American, Delta and United made subtle changes to their domestic pricing structure resulting in not-so-subtle changes to the cost of some airfares, especially impacting the business traveller.

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) learned of this issue from its agent members who detected this change early, quickly began navigating through the complexities of fares and pricing and started saving their clients money.

"The simple way to explain what is happening is that certain multi-segment itineraries now cost a significantly higher amount when they are presented as a single ticket rather than multiple one-way tickets," said ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby. "The negative impact is on the time it takes agents to issue multiple tickets for one trip, but consumers who book multi city or circle trips through their trusted travel agent can experience significant savings."

The changes were made to what the airlines call "combinable fare rules," which prohibit certain one-way fares from being combined into the same passenger name record. For example, if a traveller needs to fly from New York to Los Angeles one day, from Los Angeles to Phoenix the next, and from Phoenix back home to New York, the price to ticket that all at once can be more than double the price of purchasing three separate one-way tickets.

To quantify, an ASTA agency owner told ASTA on Monday: "A test itinerary I did this morning on an AA circle trip showed the same ridiculously high fare display in the GDS, AA.com and Expedia. It cost roughly $1,800 for one ticket; only $450 for three tickets."

ASTA Chairman Roger Block, who is President of Travel Leaders Franchise Group, said, "The good news is travel agents immediately spotted what was happening, and figured out a way to work around it."

Read the full press release to see why it makes sense to use a travel agent.
Air Canada increases fees to change flights prior to departure
Air Canada

New Change Fees on Domestic Routes
For Domestic Canada tickets issued on/after March 2, 2016, the applicable change fee on select fare products will change as follows:

Tango Flex
• Anytime change from $75 to $100
• Name change from $100 to $125 (0-300 miles)
• Anytime change from $50 to $75

The change fees/fare rules apply to Domestic Canada itineraries only. The fee does not apply to same day stand-by, Flight Passes and Aeroplan redemption tickets.

Increase In Change Fees Up To 2 Hours Before Departure
Up to two hours prior to departure:
Tango Flex Latitude
• Increased from $75 in February to $100 in March • Increased from $50 in February to $75 in March • Unchanged. The cost of the fare difference, if there is one.

Air Canada's change fees are different when you make changes at the counter. On Rapidair routes and flights between Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, the change fee was also increased from $75 to $100 in early March.
WestJet Encore launches Toronto-Boston service

WestJet Encore has launched a new service between Toronto and Boston, the newest addition to the company's network.

The new service will operate three times daily on WestJet Encore's fleet of Canadian-made Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft.

In less than three years, WestJet Encore has gone from two aircraft and ten daily departures to 28 aircraft and over 130 daily departures serving 33 cities including Boston.

Starting May 6, 2016, WestJet will also offer non-stop flights available year-round from Toronto and Calgary to London Gatwick, and seasonal non-stop flights available from Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg and St. John's, NL. In June, WestJet Encore will also launch service to Nashville, Tennessee.
Mobile Passport

If Global Entry isn't right for you, but you still want to speed the process of customs and immigration clearance in the US, check out Mobile Passport.

This app is approved by, and developed with, the US Customs and Border Protection Service. The app stores basic profile information and then asks a few questions about your trip (as you'd find on the typical customs form). You then submit the data through the app and barcode in the app as a receipt. When you reach the customs and immigration hall, there will be a dedicated lane for user of the app. You'll still need to talk to an agent, but the process in advance of that should be much smoother.

The app is available for free in the Apple and Google Play app stores.

This service is currently available in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and most recently Dallas/Ft Worth.