Morris/Ask Mr. Foster Travel, one of the so-called "Big Three" travel agencies that other agencies say control 65 percent of Utah's travel business, denied Friday it has conspired with two other local agencies to eliminate competition through preferential reservations and ticketing agreements with Delta Airlines.
"We do not apologize for offering superior savings and service to our customers," said Richard Frendt, Morris president.Morris, Murdock Travel, and Bonneville Beehive Travel were named in a complaint filed this week by 22 Utah travel agencies with the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C. The 22 smaller agencies say Delta and the Big Three agencies conspired to monopolize the Utah market by offering special "bulk" ticket programs. The complaint also says the three agencies were given exclusive use of computer reservations equipment not used by the smaller agencies.
The complaint seeks a cease and desist order along with civil penalties and court costs against Atlanta-based Delta and the three Utah travel agencies.
"We have reviewed the complaint and can unequivocally state the allegations of a conspiracy are totally without merit," said Frendt. "Further, Morris/Ask Mr. Foster has not violated any of the economic regulations of the Department of Transportation."
Frendt said his company "works honestly and fairly with all airlines to negotiate the best possible price for our clients."
He said Murdock and Bonneville are two of Morris' major competitors and "The suggestion that we have conspired with these rivals is both unfair and wrong." He said Morris "has an excellent working relationship with Delta and the other carriers serving Salt Lake City, but we do not interfere in any way with their relationships with other travel agencies."