Court Tosses Antitrust Case Against Airlines

     (CN) – Travel agents failed to prove that the airline industry conspired to put them out of business by eliminating their base commissions, the 6th Circuit ruled.

     Tam Travel and 48 other travel agencies sued various airlines, including Delta and United, in Ohio federal court in 2003.
Travel agents received a percentage of each airline ticket sold. When an agency sold an airline ticket before 2002, it received a sales commission based on a percentage of the airline ticket price.
     This practice, commonly referred to as the payment of “base commissions,” was industry-wide.
     Travel agents claimed that the airlines conspired to reduce and eventually eliminate base commissions in a concerted effort to bankrupt the travel agencies.
     The district court dismissed the complaint for failure to state any claims under the Sherman Antitrust Act.
     Judge Griffin of the Cincinnati-based federal appeals court agreed, ruling that the agents failed to allege sufficient facts to show an agreement to fix prices.

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