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Sabre Travel Network on Friday plans to make its Air Total Pricing
offering available to subscribers worldwide, advancing the global distribution
provider's efforts, outlined in July, to launch a system that allows
travel agents to see the true cost of an airline itinerary, inclusive of any
applicable add-on fees—from baggage fees to seat assignments—before booking a
the development, to be announced on Wednesday, as an early step toward helping
agencies and their customers tackle the confusion wrought by increasingly
unbundled air pricing and determine the true cost of air travel transactions.
However, the GDS said it would have to await further industry advancements to
enable customers to actually book and settle ancillary services through its
channels, and expects further development in the coming months.
In the meantime, the GDS is making the new comparison-shopping
and price quoting engine available to all agencies worldwide as part of its
core offering and at no extra cost to subscribers.
Sabre built the Air Total
Pricing to tap into the ATPCo Optional
Services Fees fare filing category, called OC, or
grab data directly from the airlines, but Sabre executives said carriers have
yet to embrace those methods for filing ancillary service fees, leaving the GDS
to take a more manual approach in bringing that information to subscribers.
no airlines have actually formally expressed their intention use ATPCo OC, not
withstanding the fact that 26 of them have been testing it for a number of
months, we've gone out and manually gathered this," Sabre
vice president of marketing Kyle Moore said. "We've
done that for the key ancillaries out there—not everything that could possible
happen, but certainly the most important ones." For
the first incarnation of Air Total Pricing,
Sabre said it compiled such common ancillary fees for the world's largest
airlines as those for checking a first or second bag, using wireless Internet onboard
and selecting a seat.
Noting that the data
was compiled by Sabre, and not directly grabbed from airlines through ATPCo,
Moore cautioned, "We know that this
is not going to be perfect. Until the airlines are providing that information
to us directly, we won't know all the level of detail that they may have around
their services. For example, if a fee is only applicable for a certain inventory
class or if a fee is only applicable in certain markets or only applies to
non-elite travelers, we might not know that. We know that the information is
not perfect, but we do believe it is a tremendous step forward to providing the
clarity that travelers deserve."
Though Friday's release
largely is targeted at travel agents, both traditional and online, Sabre senior vice president of marketing Chris
Kroeger said that other channels "that sit on top of the GDS are then enabled to take
advantage of that efficient access to ancillaries. As we build out this
platform, tools like GetThere will be able to embed the ancillary process in
that workflow, as well as consumer sites and things like that."
Though Sabre is
making the offering available to all subscribers worldwide, Moore said that
does not mean all Sabre-connected agencies will be live on the pricing system right
can request it as they want," Moore said. "There will be those that
start using it on day one, and others that will use it over the coming weeks as
their customers ask for it more and more. The important thing is we've enabled
this around the world. It is a global release."
in July outlined plans to develop the Air Total
Pricing system, mimicking similar
"Total Pricing" initiatives for rental car and hotel, released by the
GDS in the past decade.