Airlines have steadfastly resisted attempts to impose regulations that would force them to provide ancillary product and service information to GDSs.
But if current trends continue, the issue may become moot: Nearly every agreement major carriers sign with GDS companies these days includes provisions for the distribution of ancillary products and services.
Travelport and Air France-KLM
The latest is Travelport’s full-content agreement with Air France-KLM, which also covers HOP, a new subsidiary of Air France that aims to connect the regions of France with the rest of Europe.
The agreement calls for ancillary products such as KLM’s Economy Comfort and Air France’s Seat Plus to be made available to Travelport subscribers.
Sabre and United
That follows close on the heels of Sabre’s new “long-term” agreement with United Airlines. “Sabre and United currently are working to make United’s premium seat option, Economy Plus, available once again through Sabre,” the companies said in a joint statement.
The option had been available through Sabre and Travelport until the migration of United to Continental’s passenger services system last year.
Sabre said the new deal calls for the provision of full content along with United’s ancillary products that are material to the trip.
Sabre and United also said they will “co-develop solutions using next-generation technology that will permit United to offer more relevant personalized offers to their loyal customers.”
AA makes deals too
Even American Airlines, which once sought to make its merchandising efforts available to travel agencies only through direct connections, is working with GDS companies to distribute ancillary products.
Its deals with Travelport and Amadeus envision making the majority of its products available through the channel.
“From a revenue-upside perspective, I want to put as much as I can” into the channel, Cory Garner, managing director of sales operations and distribution, said.
He added that “American offers lots of products, and it may not make business sense to make changes for a very small product. But that’s a natural, common-sense type of decision, not a strategic decision.”