Delta Scraps Ticket Surcharge

Bowing to public pressure, Delta Airlines has ended its short-lived but controversial policy of adding a surcharge to all tickets not purchased directly through the company's Web site.

Earlier this month, the Atlanta-based carrier began charging a $2 fee to customers who purchased domestic round-trip tickets by any method other than the Internet. Delta cited the rising costs of traditional airline booking systems.

But now the airline confirms that the non-Internet surcharge proved to be a competitive disadvantage. "The market spoke," said a Delta spokeswoman, "and we responded."

The surcharge had been sharply criticized by both consumers and travel industry groups.

The American Society of Travel Agents, whose members had been forced to charge the higher prices, calls Delta's decision to withdraw the fee, "a resounding win for the traveling public." The trade group represents 26,500 members in more than 170 countries.