Even though agents feel that the International Air Transport
Association (IATA) has leanings towards the airlines, membership to this community comes with its own set of advantages.
Membership to the hallowed tarmac of IATA comes at a price. And even when travel agents start questioning its relevance in times of crisis such as this, it’s important to look at the benefits this membership offers agents.
Pradip Lulla, Acting President and VP, TAFI, feels that even though the IATA travel agents are vehement about trading credit shells with refunds right now, and are doubting the relevance of IATA membership for them, they must look at the other side of the coin. “The IATA membership comes with a host benefits such as access to their platform and to the GDS systems. But most of all, the IATA stamp lends credibility to the agent. Being accredited as an IATA agent helps in getting our money back in cash from the airlines. This is because we can have a direct access to process refunds – either direct credit or filing a refund application and being in control of the
IATA offers two options to agents – GoStandard and GoLite. The GoLite accreditation option, that many agents choose, allows them to transact with airlines through IATA’s BSP exclusively using the IATA EasyPay and Card forms of payment. And since there’s no cash facility (deferred payments), GoLite agents can benefit from IATA accreditation with fewer financial requirements and lower percentage of bank guarantee. Lulla adds, “The IATA platform is a great advantage to the participating airline with the global ratio in the range of 0.5% default. But, airlines don’t take this advantage and give ticketing capabilities to maximum travel agents to garner more business with practically no risk.”