Since Southwest Airlines a few years ago chose Amadeus as its passenger service system, many have hoped that would mean at least most of the airline’s fares and schedules would appear in the Amadeus GDS. Amadeus user Lola is among them. Putting aside some corporate customers, however, Amadeus users are still waiting.
According to an Amadeus official, the company is in “ongoing discussions” with Southwest about making its content available to GDS users. Southwest inventory is available to corporate customers that “include, but are not limited to” users of the Amadeus Cytric online booking tool via a connectivity method the official said was confidential.
It’s not clear whether these corporate clients access Swabiz via Amadeus technology, are using an application programming interface, or have another way. Presumably, being the operator of Southwest’s res system has advantages.
So far, that’s not helping Lola. If clients want Southwest, Lola agents will book it for them. “It’s not efficient,” said Lola senior vice president Krista Pappas. “It’s a workaround.”
After The Company Dime exposed challenges for another startup business travel company, TripActions, Pappas discussed Lola’s approach to airline relationships.
New business travel providers should “speak with suppliers early and often,” she said. “It’s important for them not to find out after the fact what you’re up to.”
That included understanding, for example, Delta’s “next-generation storefront initiative [and] how they’re looking at seats differently across fare bundles. We wanted to align with that, so something unique that we do is that the first set of search results is by default nonstop across carriers, displayed by preference. You can see all the times each carrier has in one snapshot for the day, then drill down on, say, Delta. The display is reminiscent of what you get on delta.com.”
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