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Leading airline favours Web for ticket sales

Big savings expected from ecommerce

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Delta Air Lines' decision to make it cheaper to buy tickets on-line than through traditional channels is yet another milestone in the development of e-commerce. In a bid to cut its spiralling ticketing costs -- which account for $1 billion a year -- the company said it will charge customers an extra $2 on all domestic bookings that are not done via the airline's Web site. According to reports, this is the first time any major airline has created such a price differentiation between tickets sold through traditional channels and via the Web. A spokeswoman for Delta in the UK confirmed that the trial was going ahead in the US but was unable to say when it would be introduced in the UK. "We'll just have to wait and see if it's a success," she said, adding that she thought the trial was both exciting and showed Delta's commitment to IT. According to figures regularly trotted out by IBM, the cost of issuing an airline ticket falls from around $8 dollars to less than a dollar if it is done electronically. ®

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