Friday, February 01, 2008

Round we go again

With airline surcharges flying all over the place at the moment Sabre's current approach is interesting.

The distribution giant says its agency customers want access to content but not at any price.

Sabre is supporting the traditional model of airlines paying a booking fee to the GDS and the GDS paying an incentive to travel agents.

Curious that a couple of years ago when airlines were beginning to hold content to ransom the GDS was willing to consider all avenues and called on agents to meet it half way.

Fast forward to 2008 and what do you do when your customers' customers - the travellers - wants access to the content? Especially at a time when costs are being scrutinised.

And, what to do when customers - agency or corporate - put in place direct connections with those evil surcharging airlines.

Of the general market Sabre's Martin Cowley said he couldn't predict further than six months at the moment.

"Anyone who does is flying a kite quite frankly."

Difficult though when you are having to renegotiate multiple year deals with European airlines.

So, will Sabre have to drop its stance in a matter of weeks or months or will taking the moral high ground pay off?

Who needs who more?

Linda Fox, lead reporter, Travolution

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