Scam travel agencies should be shut down, with their owners publicly beaten and jailed. I am happy to see American Airlines crack down on such scam travel agencies via a new lawsuit, even if it comes at the expense of a more legitimate one.

New Lawsuit From American Airlines Goes After Scam Travel Agencies

I’ve written before about the scams of certain unscrupulous travel agencies. They take out Google ads, rank highly in search results, pretend to be the actual airline, then defraud consumers by charging than ridiculous amounts of money for things that are actually free, like flight changes, seat assignments, special meal requests, and wheelchair access.

I’ve chastised Google for not doing more to crack down on this and now American Airlines is suing a prominent travel agency for failing to control the conduct of its agents. Per Skift:

American Airlines has sued airline ticket consolidator U.S.A. Gateway — which does business as GTT Travel — alleging that GTT duped travelers into thinking they were booking direct with American, and then gouged them with exorbitant fares and fees.

GTT is a fairly prominent airline ticket consolidator that works closely with many airlines, including American Airlines. The problem is not in GTT’s errors of commission, but in its errors of omission: it has failed to control the travel agencies that sell its inventory. These are some of the very same agencies that rip off consumers by fraudulently posing as the airline.

American Airlines alleges:

GTT and its sub-agents have been engaging in extremely deceptive practices solely to profit GTT and at a cost to travelers. GTT is overcharging and hiding charges from customers and engaging in prohibited ticketing practices. Such actions are harmful and unfair to consumers, misrepresent American Airlines, and violate numerous clauses of GTT’s contracts with our airline.

That not only includes the fraudulent practices I referenced above, but even things like selling hidden city tickets to unknowing clients, not telling them, and charging them the full price while pocketing the difference.

The lawsuit claims:

  • GTT fails to monitor the activities of its sub-agencies
  • GTT refuses to share their details with AA even though it has a contractual obligation to do so

If true, I am quite sympathetic to American Airlines and hope that other airlines join the lawsuit.

CONCLUSION

No one should get scammed by deceptive travel agencies pretending to be the airline and then engaging in fraudulent ticketing practices. If I don’t control my employees, I get held responsible. It seems to me the same principle applies here. Hopefully, GTT will get the message very quickly and better hold its sub-agents in line.

(H/T: View From The Wing)

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