Unbundling or a la carte, Amadeus, Sabre on the case

seat1.jpgBundles of joy. When airlines began their so-called unbundling, the breaking down of fares into various attributes such as refundability, seat choice, bag-checking options, and the like, a big worry was just how to sell the choices. Would you have go to the airline only? Air Canada, the first, at first reserved its approach – everything’s unbundled but you have to buy separately – to itself, but now the GDSs and other travel-agent tools are developing the ways to sell it all.

The Air Canada development – a deal with Farelogix – puts the carrier’s a-la-carte fares and other products as well as Air Canada flight passes into travel agents’ desktops. It follows other links and interfaces through competing middlemen as well as a product on Galileo, the Travelport GDS, dubbed Agencia, says the airline’s John Reber.

Sabre, the big Texas-based former American Airlines unit, has unveiled a way to sell separate classes of seats within the same cabin as part its GDS. Its first big US customer for this is Midwest Airlines, which is counting on a conversion of its once single-class (‘every seat first class’) cabin as a key to survival. Because Midwest


uses the basic Sabre service, it was just a matter of building up the module, but Sabre will offer the service elsewhere.

Sabre is perhaps late to the sell-up party, following the Amadeus Altea platform’s expansion of sales and merchandising services by several months. United and Singapore airlines have both reported strong results though their Altea adaptation. The Sabre developments are part of a new reservations system that is part of its SabreSonic product called Customer Sales and Service. the big question now: Will they be able to make folks as pleased as these happy campers?

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