Skift Take

Great primer on the push and pull between airlines and the traditional booking distribution systems, and how airlines hold an advantage if they build up good digital retail capabilities.

There is a constant push and pull between airlines saying the GDS cannot support ancillaries and GDSs saying they can. A more accurate judgment may be that GDSs generally do accommodate ancillaries but in a clunky and limited fashion.

Full-service airlines are increasingly adopting LCC elements, with demands for GDSs to support ancillaries. Even the most steadfast of full-service carriers have some ancillaries, mainly charging for exit row seats (Singapore Airlines) or a seat assignment.

But travel agents may not hold the same vigour as airlines to sell ancillaries. They find using Special Service Requests (SSRs) difficult…they may not have a monetary incentive to sell ancillaries since they typically do not receive a commission on them.

The existence of the middleman (travel agent) is becoming more problematic as airlines slowly grasp the importance of retail psychology: what you sell is as important as how you sell it.

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Tags: ancillary services, fees, gds

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