Questioning the travel industry status quo, one blog post at a time

Archive for the ‘Response’ Category

We couldn't think of a good picture for this blog, so we went with a classic gif: Monkey Washing Cat.

We couldn’t think of a good picture for this blog, so we went with a classic gif: Monkey Washing Cat.

I read Mr. Pestronk’s recent response to the NDC question with fascination and bewilderment. Clearly some education and clarification is needed, so I thought it best to go through parts of his article and add my comments. They are in bolded italics.

Think of NDC as like American’s Direct Connect except that, instead of being pushed by just one airline, it is going to be backed by all 240 IATA airlines, including all U.S. legacy carriers, at the same time. When you say, “think of NDC as like American’s Direct Connect,” are you referring to American’s Direct Connect to Travelport, whereby Travelport will connect to American using the NDC standard with the only difference travel agents will notice is that they have all the ancillaries that American offers and can therefore provide their customers with up-to-the-minute, authenticated, and perhaps even personalized offers? Because that is truly what accepting NDC means. It means an airline can use one modern, flexible pipe to connect to all distributors. No longer would there be a need for multiple pipes with separate and different standards on how to connect. Instead everyone would connect in the same way.

IATA has asked the Department of Transportation (DOT) to approve the agreement setting up the rules for NDC, and interested parties have until May 1 to file comments. True, and if you are a travel agency, I think you should encourage DOT to approve NDC as soon as possible so airlines that choose to adopt this new connectivity standard can get on with delivering that precious content travel agencies and their corporate and leisure customers want.
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I could not help but think of this famous Mark Twain quote as I read Mark Pestronk’s article published in the recent issue of Travel Weekly. I’ve known Mark since my days with System One, but  I was a bit surprised by his statement about Direct Connect being “a failure” and his related references to it being “vaporware.” Now, I can only assume that Mr. Pestronk is not referring to the Direct Connect developed by Farelogix. Because our Direct Connect is fully certified by ARC and BSP in over 60 countries, deployed by 15 airlines around the world, accessed by over 5000 travel agencies in 40 countries, and used by millions of passengers (knowingly or not) to fly on those airlines. And I certainly believe these numbers would be significantly higher were it not for the concerted efforts of a few in our industry to stall the progress of the Farelogix Direct Connect.

It certainly is no longer any secret that at least one GDS has wanted to stop Farelogix and its Direct Connect deployment. Quoting testimony from the recent American Airlines v. Sabre case (transcripts available at http://www.farelogix.com/transcripts.php), just as Mr. Pestronk did, we now know this GDS wanted Farelogix to go away. As stated in internal emails from Sabre,“Our goal is one—not let Farelogix spread any further, and number two, to discontinue the current locations.”[1] Another read, “We want to make sure we are still pushing on the strategy of shutting down Farelogix.”[2]

 

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 I have to ask, why would one GDS go to the lengths of “shutting down Farelogix” if Direct Connect is, as reported in Travel Weekly, “a failure” and “vaporware?”

Since I can’t answer the particular question as to what would motivate a GDS to want to shut down Farelogix, what I can do is propose an offer to Mr. Pestronk, or anyone else that writes about or wants to write about Direct Connect, to come to our office in Miami for a couple of hours where we will provide a fully transparent and in-depth review of the Farelogix Direct Connect. That way the next time anyone writes about Direct Connect, he or she can reliably report on the facts.

 



[1] October 24th p41, lines 18-21

[2] October 24th p41, lines 24-25