United Airlines' plan to shift some credit card merchant-fee costs to travel agencies apparently is off the table.
The American Society of Travel Agents says United sent letters to impacted agencies last week indicating that the policy is withdrawn and they would not be subject to any penalties retroactively.
The airline caused a major stir when it adopted a policy on June 15, 2009, that barred a limited number of travel agencies -- initially 28 -- from using United's merchant account when booking United tickets for clients on credit cards.
The move was widely viewed as a trial balloon by United to shift merchant fees from the airline to travel agencies and take a chunk out of its distribution costs.
The question loomed as to whether other airlines would adopt United's tactic, as well.
At one point, ASTA got Congress involved and managed to get United to delay implementation.
Both ASTA and the Business Travel Coalition applauded United's decision to rescind the merchant-fee action and attributed the decision to new United leadership in place following the merger of United and Continental Airlines.