Report by Tanya Jefferies

Travel agents are to receive refunds totalling a
massive £14 million from airlines that previously refused to pay commission on
Passenger Service Charges.

The payments work out at an average of £3,500 for each
of the 4,000 agents eligible for a refund, although in practice the payments
will vary widely from agent to agent. The refund, thought to be the largest-ever
single payout to the travel trade, will come from the coffers of 117 airlines
and follows a landmark ABTA-backed court action by three agents against British
Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Lufthansa. Payment will go directly to agents
through the International Air Transport Association’s Billing and Settlement
Plan next Friday.