A shake-up in the way airlines sell seats through travel agents has been confirmed by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
From the end of July, computer reservations companies such as Sabre and Galileo will no longer be required to list flights without bias on agents' screens. So if one of them strikes a particularly favorable deal with an airline, it will be able to display that carrier's departures and fares more prominently than those of others, whether or not the price or routing is the best.
A rule that prevents computer reservation groups from demanding that airlines provide all their fares will also be lifted. This should make it impossible for carriers to offer certain deals only via the Internet.
Other, less significant, regulations will be lifted at the end of this month. The transport department believes they have become unnecessary as U.S. airlines no longer own and operate the biggest reservations systems.