Airlines! Who needs a new distribution platform, just bundle and add a supplement
Is history repeating itself? An interesting move by Flybe this morning sees the airline going back to a bundled approach except this time with a supplement.
And, it raises a number of questions around the ongoing IATA new distribution platform debate.
Flybe has introduced a ‘bundled’ supplement to simplify sales for agents booking its New Economy product via the global distribution systems.
The New Economy product, introduced earlier this year as part of the airlines Making Flying Better campaign, is designed to offer value via the inclusion of cabin and hold baggage, advance seat selection and itinerary change.
The problem was that the bundle had to be sold separate to the fare in the GDSs resulting in special service requests and miscellaneous charges order.
Now the airline and partners have got together to introduce the fare including the bundle supplement and everyone, it seems, is happier.
All of which begs some questions, could this be a way forward? If it’s that simple to bundle it up and add a supplement, why bother with potentially costly new systems?
One of the big arguments around the need for NDC is that airlines are hindered from developing relationships with customers in the current system, which IATA says has led to the ‘commoditisaton of air travel’.
But, here perhaps is one way for airlines to claw back some revenue, offer alternative products and still maintain transparency (a complaint against NDC).
Inevitably, it’s not that simple.
Linda Fox is deputy editor for Tnooz. For the past six years she has worked as a freelance journalist across a range of B2B titles including Travolution, ABTA Magazine, Travelmole and the Business Travel Magazine.
In this time she has also undertaken corporate projects for a number of high profile travel technology, travel management and research companies.
Prior to her freelance career she covered hotels and technology news for Travel Trade Gazette for seven years. Linda joined TTG from Caterer & Hotelkeeper where she worked on the features desk for more than five years.