I thought I'd chime in on the current industry focus regarding total access fees and the renegotiation of GDS contracts. I tend to look at this issue in a very black and white fashion:
- Financial incentives for travel agents (and TMCs) are going away. Whether this is the first step (e.g. Sabre, Galileo) or a complete elimination (Worldspan) of these payments, it is just a matter of time until these funds disappear
- No travel agent or TMC can depend on total content from a GDS no matter what happens with the remaining hold outs (e.g. AA and Sabre, DL and Worldspan)
- Larger TMCs have already implemented technology (e.g. CWT's Symphonie, Amex's TravelBahn) to aggregate content. Second tier TMCs and below need to lean on their consortium to find a solution to this aggregation problem
- The Air Canada Tango issue is only the tip of the iceberg of the coming changes in how airline inventory is distributed. With all due respect to BTC, I am not hopeful that a negotiated solution to this issue will be reached.