Changes are coming — and I will not be able to help.
A bit of history. For many years, a flight reservation was a difficult task. (We used a book the size of a very large telephone book! Had to find what flights connect with another!! Many pages to turn!!) As air travel became a viable transportation option in the early 40s, thousands of people became ticket buyers. With the growing number of customers, carriers had to overcome numerous challenges to make booking fast, convenient, and operationally easy. Twenty years or so down the road in the 60s, the whole booking process could be accomplished in minutes – through a travel agent. Fast forward to today – and previously unimaginable – travelers enjoy fully automated ticket booking, reserving and paying for flights using smartphones. The assumption is—all travelers can, and want to, use a smartphone to make their own reservations.
Currently, the Global Distribution System (GDS) is a primary reservation tool for travel agents. GDS is a network that enables travel agencies to access travel data, shop for and compare reservations options, and book travel. What is so great about the GDS is, I can switch from one carrier to another with just a few strokes on the keyboard. I can quickly compare price and availability. See which hotel rooms are available and at what price. All fast and easy so you do not need to do the work.
But now, American Airlines is going to withhold 40 % of their flights, to be booked only on AA.com. They have signed a new long-term agreement that will provide customers more opportunities to experience modern retailing with direct access to American’s content, including elevated offers and ancillary products. What they do not say is what the effects are on you and travel agencies. They will be offering fares not in my GDS. Now the client will have to do their own research to learn if they can find a fare and availability I cannot offer.
AA makes it sound so good, but in the long run, if you have difficulty using the online platforms and prefer to use a travel advisor, this all may not be in your best interest. And if United and Delta follow I will be out of business and you will be on your own. You may find I am booking away from AA; you might want to do the same.
Open if you want to learn the whole story!!