Members of the European Parliament have joined in criticism of Iata proposals for a New Distribution Capability (NDC) bringing the issue to a new level of scrutiny.
Airline association Iata has argued NDC would allow airlines to develop Amazon-style retailing through travel agents and open third-party distribution to new players beyond the existing global distribution systems (GDSs)
However, Labour MEP Claude Moraes told the BBC that passengers could ending paying more a flight based on who they are rather than what ticket they booked or when they booked it.
Moraes suggested this could be discriminatory.
He said: “Sophisticated models are being used to decide what you should be charged based on your nationality, ethnicity and spending habits.”
Moraes argued: “It is highly unlikely if you carry a Nigerian passport you are going to be white.”
Iata denied this. An Iata spokesman insisted: “Nothing in the NDC changes the legal responsibility airlines and travel agents have to protect the rights of consumers.”
He said consumers would be “free to choose to remain anonymous”.
European Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding acknowledged the concerns in a letter to a group of MEPs last month.
Reding wrote: “I share your concern that the amount of personal information processed by airlines and travel agents ... should be proportionate.”
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