< PrevNext > Jeff Lobl, Delta Air Lines Managing Director of Global Distribution Strategy Next Generation Storefront's Recruiter By Dawit Habtemariam / December 13, 2019 / Contact Reporter Share When Jeff Lobl took his current position in 2017, he realized that even as Delta's products and website evolved, indirect distribution channels obscured them by showing travelers only one column of fares based on outdated categories. This disconnect could confuse agencies, buyers and travelers regarding differences among branded fares, further aggravated as the New Distribution Capability enabled airlines to diversify their fares even more. He reached out to his counterparts, American Airlines' Neil Geurin and United Airlines' Tye Radcliffe, and found they felt the same way. At ATPCO's 2018 Elevate Conference, the three announced the launch of the Next Generation Storefront initiative, an effort led by ATPCO and consisting of airlines and distribution channels to develop a data standard that would change how airline products were sorted and grouped on retailing displays. Lobl then predicted "a growing realization across the distribution chain, from airlines to intermediaries to agencies to customers, that there is a lot more value in Next Generation Storefront than in NDC."Given the industry's sluggish progress and focus on NDC, Lobl's prediction seemed far-fetched, but by the end of 2019, TripActions, TravelBank, Upside, Psngr1, WhereTo and AmTrav each had adapted the standard to their booking displays. Lobl said distribution channels understood the need for change. "It's not a difficult sell for distributors because they want to help their customers just as much as the carriers," he said. "It was just a problem in need of a solution, and NGS became that solution." However, many attribute the adoption's speed and coverage to Delta leveraging its content with emerging players. In April, The Beat broke the news that Delta was pressuring startups to adopt the standard, with one summarizing: "Delta [is] forcing startups to adopt a half-baked NGS standard or they'll shut off our content." "I don't think anyone who has adopted it regrets having adopted it," Lobl said. The standard in October became final for the domestic U.S. market and now is being adapted to international markets.NGS excites some travel buyers, but some blame Delta for imposing a standard that exposes their travelers to more expensive fares. At the same time, the carrier has limited savings tools available to travel managers when it made TripActions, TravelBank and Upside give up their air savings rewards programs as part of their NGS implementations. The onus is now on travel managers to change or strengthen their travel and expense policies to maintain control of air spend.