American Express Global Business Travel claims NDC breakthrough

American Express Global Business Travel claims NDC breakthrough

Firm’s Neo booking tool has been integrated with Amadeus and Sabre’s offerings

American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) today claimed to be the first travel management company to connect to global distribution systems for online NDC content.

Neo – the latest release of its proprietary online booking tool – connects to Amadeus NDC-X and Sabre’s Beyond NDC through GBT’s supply management platform. Work to integrate with Travelport is ongoing.

GBT has also introduced ‘Routehappy’ technology and amenity information into the Neo point of sale.

Users can now see more information about what is included in an air fare.

The initial phase includes information about specific aircraft, such as Wi-Fi availability, food choices and seat pitches.

The next phase will include ticket components, such as lounge access and baggage allowance.

GBT issued the first live American Airlines’ NDC-enabled bookings in August using the Amadeus Travel API. Other TMCs are now following the same path.

GBT has also made test bookings with Sabre and Travelport.

“As Neo leads the way in delivering scalable solutions, GBT also looks forward to updates from key online booking tool (OBT) partners,” the TMC said.

“Some OBTs are still in pilot mode, but we expect many to scale-up with GBT and GDSs throughout 2020.

“GBT works with all major OBTs to advance airline retailing, maintain comprehensive and relevant content, and evolve the user experience.”

GBT content distribution director John Bukowski said: “Connecting with the GDSs for NDC content and with Routehappy for product and amenity information demonstrates our commitment to continue providing a complete content offering that can be shopped and compared in a transparent environment.

“As a standard, NDC will only work if it can help us deliver on this promise at scale to provide real value to companies and business travellers. We are focused on delivering an enhanced user experience while working with customers to ensure they continue to have control of their programmes.”

GBT is working with American Airlines, United, Delta, Air France-KLM, International Airlines Group, Qantas and many other airlines on joint airline retailing initiatives.

Bukowski added: “We applaud those who have embraced collaboration to find airline retailing solutions that help customers optimize their travel programs and costs.

“However, some carriers have chosen to pursue strategies that fragment the shopping and booking process, adding cost and clouding transparency by removing content from the GDSs. It is our hope that these airlines soon recognise the value we can collectively deliver to customers if we embrace efficient, integrated solutions.”

Bukowski pointed out that it was important for travel buyers to understand that NDC is only one component of airline retailing and that innovation to deliver a content rich airline shopping experience goes well beyond one technology standard.