Agent Code of Conduct
In accordance with sections 3 and 4 of IATA Resolution 824 – Passenger Sales Agency Agreement, Air France, KLM, and Delta Air Lines (each a “Carrier” and collectively the “Carriers”) require its Travel Agents to strictly respect their rules and principles when providing to customers the Carriers’ respective air transportation products and services.
The following rules and principles apply to Travel Agents booking and issuing Carriers traffic documents through online distribution channels. The Travel Agents selling online shall also comply with any other written instructions from the Carriers such as: each Carrier Booking and ADM policy, AFKL General Policies and Rules for the Sale of its Passenger Air Transportation Services, all of such documents being available on the Carriers Travel Agents dedicated websites.
Therefore, the Travel Agent shall respect and strictly adhere to each of the following when booking and/or issuing BSP traffic documents through any online distribution channel, using either its own Internet website or the Internet website of any affiliates or any third party Internet website or any other online or mobile applications available to the customers.
For the avoidance of doubt, the term “Fares” in the present Agent Code of Conduct means the Carriers fares (published or/and unpublished) as described below:
- Published Fares: All fares published by the Carriers through any distribution system authorised by the Carrier and corresponding to the price of the Carriage’s contract binding the Carrier and the customer.
- Non-Published Fares: All fares provided by the Carriers through any distribution system authorised by the Carrier including GDS’s private section and available for sale by some Travel Agents selected by the Carriers (e.g. net Fares, Tour Operator fares etc.).
For purposes of the present Agent Code of Conduct, the following terms shall have the meanings ascribed below:
“Metasearch Operator” means any person or entity that:
(i) Aggregates data related to flights operated and/ or marketed by air carriers (“Flight Data”);
(ii) Provides access to, displays or otherwise distributes Flight Data or parts thereof to users of its services; and
(iii) Refers or otherwise connects users of its services to air carriers, travel agents and/or other parties that book tickets for airline travel.
“Carrier Content” means, with respect to each Carrier, such Carrier’s Flight Data and may include, but is not limited to, flight schedules, fares, rules, conditions, seat availability, inventory availability, seat assignment, service enhancements, flight information, frequent flyer program account information, and ancillary products and services offered by air carriers.
1. Compliance with applicable laws, rules, and regulations
All Travel Agents shall comply with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations in connection with the advertising, sale, or distribution of air transportation services, and shall not engage in any action deemed an unfair or deceptive trade practice or unfair competition.
The following list of rules and regulations is not exhaustive and it is the Travel Agent’s responsibility to become familiar with and ensure compliance with laws, rules or regulations which apply to its activities for all and each territories where the Travel Agent is active.
The Carriers may publish specific instructions concerning the Carriers distribution policy for certain territories (as for example US and Canada) in accordance with local rules and regulations. For such territories, the Travel Agent shall also comply with these specific instructions that were made available on the Carriers websites.
1.1 Information about the Operating Carrier
All Travel Agents shall clearly inform the air transport passengers of the identity of the operating air carrier, meaning:
- Upon reservation, all Travel Agents shall inform the passenger of the identity of the operating air carrier or carriers, whatever the means used to make the reservation;
- If the identity of the operating Carrier is unknown at the time of reservation, the Travel Agent shall inform the passenger of the identity of the operating Carrier or Carriers likely to operate the flight. This information should be given to the passenger as soon as it is known by the Travel Agent and at the latest at the check-in time.
1.2 Carriers Fares Display
Each of the Carriers’ Fares, tariffs, rules and conditions should be displayed according to the following rules:
The final price to be paid by the customer that is advertised and displayed by the Travel Agent shall include, at all times, the Fare price as well as all applicable taxes, fees and charges which are unavoidable and foreseeable at the time of publication;
- The final price shall be broken down to show its components: Fare price, taxes, charges and surcharges as well as all the charges and fees of the Travel Agent (Carriers and Travel Agent components should be separately displayed). The same applies for any ancillary revenues (bag, meal etc.);
- Optional price, and fees supplements shall be clearly, transparently and unequivocally communicated from the start of each booking procedure or transaction and shall be presented to, and accepted by, the customer on an “opt-in” basis;
- The customer should be able to access Fares without any discrimination based on nationality or place of residence.
1.3 Fair Commercial Practices
All Travel Agents shall respect the following principles of fair commercial practices in order to ensure and maintain a fair treatment of consumers:
- Fares and/or related services must not be marketed as “free” or equivalent if the customer must pay anything other than the unavoidable cost of responding to the commercial practice (e.g. making a phone call), or collecting or paying for delivery of an item; Also, the Travel Agent shall not propose to its customer to pay for services such as information regarding flight disruptions and /or cancelation and/or modification of flight without first informing the passenger that the same services may be offered by the Carrier to the passenger free of charge as part of the Fare price;
- The material details of the flight and/or related service (which include flight timings, stops made en-route and full names of airports) shall be clearly displayed in a non-misleading manner, with any limitations and conditions clearly attached;
- Fares and/or related services shall not be biased with respect to display, distribution or access, including added service fees. Travel Agents shall ensure that any display of a Carrier’s schedules, Fares, rules, seat availability or other flight information on any website is displayed in a correct and complete manner and that the presentation of information is based on all relevant objective criteria, such as total price, transfer times, shortest connection, and each of which is consistently applied to all carriers and in all markets;
- The Travel Agent shall provide the customer with information regarding the Fare and /or related service main characteristics, i.e. the Travel Agent shall inform the customer whether baggage is included in the Fare price or whether it is subject to extra fees, whether Fares can be rebooked or refunded free of charge or against payment and indicate to the customers, when applicable, the Carrier’s charges;
- Final prices displayed by the Travel Agent should be effectively accessible to the customer and it should not include any fake and/or misleading discounts linked to availability conditions unattainable to the customer (i.e. discount imposing to the customer the use of no customary and reasonable payment method);
- The Travel Agent shall not automatically refer customers to “claims agencies” (e.g., flight irregularities such as flight delays and/or cancellations) unless:
(1) the Travel Agent has first obtain customer’s formal consent, and
(2) the Travel Agent has also notified the customer that he/she always has the right to apply directly to the operating carrier to obtain, if applicable, full compensation to which the customer may be entitled.
1.4 E-commerce Practices
Travel Agent shall respect and strictly adhere to E-commerce practices in which:
- The information provided via the internet or other electronic means shall be indicated in a clear language;
- Further provisions include the requirement that all applicable conditions related to any transportation product or service shall be available in a form which can be saved by the consumer.
1.5 Rate of Exchange / Use of the Carriers MOR
If for any reason Travel Agent needs to convert a fare into a different currency when issuing via a GDS, it shall strictly apply the rate of exchange available in the GDS at the time of the customer request.
The Agent is not allowed to use any Carrier MOR for online sales (IATA resolution 890 4.1.2) except if it has obtained written authorisation from such Carrier for the use of its MOR. In such a case, Agent shall strictly comply with the Carrier’s instructions concerning the use of its MOR.
The Travel Agent shall not apply credit card surcharges when issuing Carrier Fares in countries where such surcharges are prohibited. However, in countries where such credit card surcharges are allowable, the Travel Agent shall fully comply with all related local laws.
2. No Redistribution of Carrier Content
No Travel Agent shall (a) provide access to, display or otherwise distribute, directly or indirectly, any “Carrier Content” to any other party, including without limitation any “Metasearch Operator”, (b) receive any referral, web page click-through or link from any webpage of any “Metasearch Operator” in connection or associated with any search result on such webpage that is attributed to any Carrier product or service to any webpage used by Travel Agent, including, without limitation, any advertising link or other hyperlink, or (c) place or otherwise have any advertising link on any “Metasearch Operator” webpage in connection or associated with any search result on such webpage that is attributed to any Carrier product or service in such search result, in each case, without the prior written consent of such Carrier or pursuant to a definitive written agreement in effect with such Carrier.
The decision whether to grant consent for Travel Agent to redistribute Carrier Content shall be in each respective Carrier’s sole discretion. In order to obtain a Carrier’s consent, the Travel Agent must at a minimum strictly comply with the following rules:
- The prices of the Fares displayed by the Metasearch Operator must not be misleading for the consumer in any manner and such displays must not constitute an unfair commercial practice;
- The prices of such Fares displayed by the Metasearch Operator must include all unavoidable and foreseeable taxes, fees and charges and the Travel Agent Websites must be in compliance with the Carriers’ services instructions for online sales as specified in the present Agent Code of Conduct; and
- By the display of such Fares by the Metasearch Operator, the Travel Agent issuing online is not taking an unfair advantage of the Carriers’ trademark or is affecting in any manner Carriers’ goodwill and reputation.
In addition, each Travel Agent acknowledges and agrees that, as between the Travel Agent and the respective Carrier, such Carrier owns, controls and retains all right, title and interest in and to its Carrier Content and all copyright, database and other intellectual property rights relating thereto.
3. Intellectual Property
Travel Agents shall strictly respect each Carrier’s respective intellectual property, including without limitation service marks, trademarks, trade names and logos on their own websites and any permitted third party websites.
If Travel Agents engage in brand bidding on any Carrier’s respective trade names, trademarks, service marks and logos and/or Carrier Content, with any online search engines, such Travel Agents shall in no event act in a manner that will take unfair advantage of the Carriers’ trademark or will negatively affect Carriers’ goodwill and reputation, notably by disrespecting the dispositions of the Carriers Code of Conduct.
In the event Carriers notice that Travel Agents brand bidding has a negative impact on customers experience with Carriers brand name and services, Carriers will notify Travel Agents and Travel Agents shall stop biding, instructing or directing any third party to bid on any Carrier’s name, trademarks, service marks, trade names or other intellectual property. To that effect, “Air France” and “Airfrance”, "AF", "Flying Blue", “KLM”, “KL”, “Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij”, “Royal Dutch Airlines”, “Pack&Go”, “Werelddeal Weken”, “Delta Airlines”, “Delta Air Lines”, “Delta” and all misspells, abbreviations and translations of these trademarks will be included as a broad negative keyword match for all air related queries on search engines on concerned markets.
4. Customer Service
As for the offline sales, Travel Agents booking and issuing online shall fully support customers prior to departure and ensure after-sales services notably by providing customer support prior to day of departure (f.e. baggage allowance, name changes, etc) and clear information regarding its airline journey (including Booking reference, Ticket number, Origin / Destination, Flight date(s) / Flight number(s)…).
5. Revenue Management circumvention to obtain better availability
As instructed by the Carriers Booking and ADM Policy, the Agent must book from the availability display, per Origin & Destination (O&D) in the chronological order of each O&D.
Changing the Point of Origin or Point of Sale in the purpose of circumventing inventory control is not permitted.
Any booking will only include segments of the journey of the passenger.
6. Consequences of non-compliance with the Agent Code of Conduct
The Travel Agent shall comply immediately with all the rules, principles and instructions set forth in the present Agent Code of Conduct and, if necessary, promptly make all the required changes in order to fully comply with each of them.
In case of non-compliance by the Travel Agent with provisions of the Agent Code of Conduct, the Carrier(s) shall be entitled to take all measures the Carrier deems necessary in order to prevent or restrict such non-compliance including, but not limited to:
(i) cancelling Travel Agent’s Electronic Ticketing Authority and inhibiting Electronic Ticketing issuance in accordance with IATA Resolution 818g – Passenger Sales Agency Rules;
(ii) withdrawing from the Travel Agent the authority to issue Traffic Documents on the Carrier’s behalf and requiring the Travel Agent to return the Carrier’s Traffic Documents and Identification Plates in accordance with IATA Resolution 824 – Passenger Sales Agency Agreement; and
(iii) terminating IATA Resolution 824 – Passenger Sales Agency Agreement by withdrawing Carrier’s appointment of the Travel Agent.
The respect of these rules and principles is a prerequisite in order to further develop the cooperation between Carriers and its Travel Agents in the future.
The present Agent Code of Conduct is part of AFKL General Policies and Rules for the Sale of its Passenger Air Transportation Services and is also available on your dedicated websites, Agentconnect.biz.
The Agent Code of Conduct may be subject to modification and updated accordingly.
Agent Code of Conduct, 1 March 2019