ASTA has fired another blow in its war against American Airlines, launching an ad campaign in Politico and a consumer-facing website where customers of travel counselors can send messages to lawmakers calling for a congressional investigation into American.

In an email to members, ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby cited American’s recent announcement that many tickets booked through the agency will no longer earn AAdvantage points.

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“This latest development doubles American Airlines’ clear agenda since last year to force the travel agency industry to adopt immature technology, monopolize distribution channels, and squeeze channel partners and customers to cut costs and profits,” Kerby wrote. “We’re fighting.”

ASTA has been at loggerheads with American since it launched a new distribution strategy last April. American Airlines has removed a number of fares from the old GDSs in an effort to shift bookings from travel agencies to NDC connections. ASTA took the matter to the Department of Transportation, asking the department to force American to reinstate fares in GDSs, citing service issues with NDC reservations.

In its latest salvo, ASTA launched a campaign with Politico in the hope of attracting the attention of legislators and their staff.

“Congress, don’t let American Airlines eliminate consumer choice,” the ad says.

It is linked to the new ASTA website, Save my miles, which has a section for travellers and another for advisors. Each of them helps users submit comments to legislators.

In addition to asking advisors and consumers to share personal stories about how American’s actions have affected them, ASTA also includes a pre-composed message.

The consumer-focused message talks about the benefits of working with a travel advisor.

“Now, American Airlines is using the reward points I’ve earned to force me to book directly on their website, or through an agent they prefer,” the post continues. “This is an outrageous attempt to eliminate competition, and it will reduce the level of service and protection for travellers.”

Agent- and consumer-focused messaging encourages a congressional investigation of the United States.

ASTA encourages advisors to send a message to legislators and share its website with their clients.

“Tell them to stop AA from disenfranchising customers who book through travel agencies by telling Congress not to let American Airlines eliminate consumer choice,” Kerby wrote.

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