Passport Online adds river cruises, Ola integrates with Google Maps, and more

This is a roundup of news and announcements related to travel systems in August 2017:

Wednesday 23 August:

Passport adds river cruises, land vacations to booking platform

  • Passport Online Inc., a travel agency technology, provider, is adding land vacations and river cruises to its Tandem booking platform. The launch customer is the Globus Family of Brands, which includes Globus, Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon Waterways. Travel agencies will be able to add pre- and post-cruise land options to cruise vacations and book complete river cruise-plus-land packages through the platform.

Tuesday 22 August:

Ola gets (even) closer to Google

  • India’s biggest taxi app is integrating its inter-city long distance Outstation product into Google Maps. Users key in their destination to the directions box (with the starting point their current location) and the Outstation ride appears as one of the transit options in the results. Clicking on the option takes users to an Ola page where the ride is booked. The tie-up has gone live with 215 routes out of 23 cities and plans are in place to increase this to 500 routes.

Scoot secures Worldpay

  • Singapore Airlines’ low-cost carrier has named Worldpay as its exclusive payments provider, a few months after completing the merger with its sister airline Tiger and ahead of the launch of new routes. Worldpay is helped Scoot take payments using regional methods such as Alipay and China Union Pay in China, Konbini in Japan, and POLi Payments and PayPal in Australia.

Alaska Air gets upgraded Gogo service

  • Gogo will provide Alaska Airlines with next-generation satellite-based inflight Wi-Fi service throughout its Boeing and Airbus fleet. Gogo’s broadband 2Ku service delivers 20 times more bandwidth than Gogo’s air-to-ground product and can enable inflight streaming of Netflix, Hulu and HBO GO content. It also allows passengers to stay connected while traveling outside the continental U.S.

Delta tests video chat

  • Delta Air Lines is testing live video chat at Washington National Airport to enable a more personal interaction with customer service specialists. The carrier redesigned its Delta Sky Assist area at the airport, adding five interactive digital screens with individual receivers. Delta said the feature is a first for a US airline.

Wednesday 9 August:

Air France tests new IFE

  • Air France has been trialling an immersive inflight entertainment system to business class passengers on certain flights. It has linked up with SkyLights to offer a selection of 40 2D and 3D films and TV shows which can be viewed via a VR headset.

iPass connects with SITA

  • iPass is now selling its iPass SmartConnect global Wi-Fi connectivity service through SITA’s dedicated, gaining access to the 2,500 or so airlines and airports which access the online portal to source products and services from SITA and other third-party suppliers.

Tuesday 8 August:

Best Western gains insight

  • The hotel and resorts chain has agreed to use OTA Insight‘s rate intelligence platform, using its new parity dashboard to make sure the best rate is always available direct. Best Western has around 4000 hotels in 100 across its various brands, while OTA Insight recently signed a deal with Carlson Rezidor.

Monday 7 August:

WeChat is just the ticket for Didi

  • China’s dominant taxi-app Didi is rolling out a beta version of Didi Tickets, a new initiative which allows users to buy rides for friends. Didi users buy a ticket from their account and send details to their friend via WeChat. The recipient can then hail a ride from within WeChat and does not need the Didi app. The idea is being tested in 55 cities across China.

HitIt CS adds Arik, launches BI tool

  • Nigerian airline Arik Air has become the eighth African carrier to migrate to the Istanbul-based IT firm’s Crane Solution Suite. Meanwhile, Hitit has recently expanded its product portfolio with Crane BPI, a business intelligence tool.

Friday 4 August

BestDay expands via SiteMinder

  • Latin America’s Best Day Travel Group is looking to expand the reach for its hotel partners via a deal with SiteMinder. Hotels will be available to third parties via SiteMinder’s platform and the deal also sees SiteMinder help BestDay distribute hotel inventory among its six business units.

Boeing playing the VR game

  • The aerospace giant’s Horizon X venture arm has participated in a $3.5 million funding round for 360-degree video, VR and augmented reality startup C360 Technologies. C360 has a strong presence in the US sports broadcasting sector with Boeing eyeing up its tech for “more capable autonomous systems and advanced platforms”.

Canvas paints expansions plans

  • The European camping booking site  has teamed up with Ingenico ePayments to offer customers in its existing points of sale localised payment options including the option to pay by instalments. Canvas currently sells in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Holland and Belgium and will use Ingenico to help it enter new markets across northern Europe.


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