JOY ROY CHOUDHURY – Kolkata
Travel agents of Kolkata owing allegiance to the national body of travel agents – Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) and others joined their counterparts elsewhere in the country to observe a ‘No Ticketing Day’ on May 7, to protest against the zero commission policy of the airline companies.
Manoj Saraf, a senior TAAI member said, “The travel agents from Kolkata joined hands with their counterparts and observed ‘No Ticketing Day’ to protest against the policies of the airline companies. Today, the airline companies need to understand that in a service-driven industry like airlines, no one will be willing to work without their share of remuneration. We wanted to pass down the message to the airline companies that we, the travel agents are an integral part of the industry and they cannot do away without our services. The travel agents are investing on technology, infrastructure and human resources to provide the best possible services to the clients but in return they are being deprived of their legitimate remuneration (commission). Initially, we started with this token protest but we plan to organise it on a much bigger scale if our legitimate demands are not met by the airline companies. We will not settle for anything less than 5 percent.”
The agents are demanding airlines pay them five per cent commission and drop the plan to reduce weekly payment cycle from 15 days to seven days.
Speaking to Express TravelWorld, Aparna Chaturvedi Basumallik, chairperson – Eastern Region, TAAI echoed the same sentiments and added that the airline companies need to understand that they cannot operate without travel agents. “Through this day-long protest we wanted to create an awareness about the ‘unethical’ practices followed by the airline companies and highlight our legitimate demands,” she added.
“Such a move of the airlines will lead to a situation where only the large travel agents favoured by and allied with the airlines can survive. Thousands of small travel agencies across the country will meanwhile have to shut down,” said another city based travel agent.