Major airlines halt sales of tickets in Greece through travel agencies, citing payment concerns due to current capital controls in the country. David Pollard reports.
Try buying your air ticket through a travel agent like this one in Athens, and you could end up like the Greek economy. Grounded. Some of the world's biggest flag carriers are halting ticket sales through local agents and tour operators. With capital controls in place in Greece, they're worried they won't get paid. Emirates, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines are among them. Pegasus and Air Transat also on the list. The trade association for agents and tour operators says it's not fair. Ticket sales worth around 100 million euros are hit. A hard landing, says spokesman George Paliouras, for smaller operators in particular. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BOARD MEMBER OF THE HELLENIC ASSOCIATION OF TRAVEL AND TOURIST AGENCIES, GEORGE PALIOURAS, SAYING: "These people will be suffering. These people are losing business already due to the recession and now they are losing business at the direct competition against airlines." Lufthansa, Austrian, Swiss and Brussels say they're still selling tickets paid for with credit cards, with no restrictions. Ryanair normally sells tickets online - but last week said it would allow Greek customers to pay cash. For fed-up passengers, even cash - sometimes - isn't king. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) TRAVELLER, ALEKA KORFIATI, SAYING: "We have been waiting here in line just to get one ticket. Shame, shame, shame. And they only have one person at the ticket desk." Others hope normal service will be resumed. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TRAVELLER, MARIA, SAYING: "It is not possible anymore for other people, like people with restaurants and who have to pay their suppliers, people who have gas stations who have to pay their suppliers. It will be the same for everybody and I think people should act as normal as possible." Normal. For many Greeks, that's becoming a challenge it's not easy to rise to.