Amadeus said it would reimburse subscribers for fees assessed by American Airlines and Northwest Airlines as an "interim relief measure" while it worked toward obtaining full-content agreements from the carriers. Meanwhile, Delta on Sept. 1 took the industry by surprise and announced that it, too, would impose fees of $3.50 for each segment booked through non-preferred channels beginning at noon the same day.

However, it singled out Amadeus as a non-preferred channel. Curiously, it made no mention of Worldspan, with which it had not yet announced an agreement. Delta earlier signed seven-year agreements with Sabre and Galileo. Amadeus announced the relief measure after a federal court denied its request for an injunction to prevent American from imposing the fee until its breach of contract claim could be resolved through arbitration.

American said that "if Amadeus pursues arbitration, we're confident we'll prevail." It added that "we think Amadeus' picking up the $3.50 fee is good for American, good for Amadeus and good for its travel agency partners because it ensures that bookings through the Amadeus system for American are cost competitive with other distribution systems in the marketplace."

Amadeus had sought a similar injunction against Northwest in the carrier's bankruptcy court, but it requested and received a postponement of the hearing. Amadeus said the postponement would give it and Northwest "further opportunity to come to a mutual agreement regarding their ongoing commercial relationship." When Delta announced its fee program on the Friday morning before the U.S. Labor Day weekend, Amadeus told its subscribers that "prior to this morning we were not given any notification of their intent to impose this surcharge" and that it was evaluating "how we will address it."

Continental also has announced a fee program, but it does not go into effect until Oct. 1, so Amadeus has taken no action on that front.

US Airways' fee program designates all Amadeus products with U.S., Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands point of sale as a preferred distribution source. The carrier signed a five-year agreement with Amadeus in July.