Lufthansa allows third parties to sell seats via its API
Lufthansa Group‘s Open API is now transactional, allowing authorised developers to sell airline tickets, earning a commission on any sales in the process.
A number of travel services use the API already for functions such as timetabling, flight status and seat maps. Reinhard Lanegger, head of the Lufthansa Open API project, said that upgrading the API to become transactional was “super-important because it adds value to the other information the API provides – seat maps are a nice to have but by adding the booking function they become more significant.”
The API has been around for 18 months, and integrating the booking function has been the most complex project to date. Developers are able to use the API to deeplink into the core booking engine.
And for now the API is only able to sell seats. “In 2017 we will be focussed in developing the transactional API, and we want to be able to sell ancillaries via the API as well,” Laneggar said.
Ticketing and events were highlighted as a possible use case, with Lanegger saying talks are progressing with a ticketing platform to become the launch customer for the transactional API.
The press release added:
“Other conceivable solutions include booking platforms that correlate weather information with flight information and only recommend destinations for short trips where good weather has been predicted.
“It becomes possible to smoothly integrate flight offers for different needs and contexts into third-party channels. Which solutions will be created, depends on what the developers’ want to experiment with.
“Anything is possible, provided it is legally permissible.”
Lanegger said that his team was prepared “to adapt the API to whatever use cases might come out of the initial launch of the transactional API”.
The move is significant in the context of Lufthansa Group’s approach to distribution. In June 2015 it introduced a “distribution cost charge” of €16 to every ticket bought via the GDSs in an attempt to get more direct business. The launch of a transactional API allows Lufthansa to sell via third parties while ensuring that it handles the transaction itself.
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Martin Cowen is contributing editor for Tnooz and is based in the UK. Besides reporting and editing, he also oversees our sponsored content initiative and works directly with clients to produce articles and reports.
For the past several years he has worked as a freelance writer, specialising in B2B distribution and technology.
Before freelancing, from 2000-2008, he was launch editor for e-tid.com, the first online-only B2B daily news service for the UK travel sector.