Airlines looking to distribute ancillary services such as checked bags, seat upgrades and meals outside of the global distribution systems have found a new partner in Rearden Commerce.
Rearden plans to hook up to Farelogix's XML direct connect technology to bring airline ancillary services to corporate and travel management company clients of the Rearden Personal Assistant at the point of sale.
Under this scenario, an airline connects to Farelogix, which connects to Rearden Commerce, which distributes the ancillary services to corporations and TMCs.
So, the airlines' direct-connect strategy is looking less and less direct, although it is distribution outside of the GDSs for now, at least.
Tony D'Astolfo, Rearden's senior vice president of travel services, says the Farelogix partnership will simplify matters for Rearden's direct corporate customers, which want to know the total trip cost at the point of sale and would rather outsource the technology work than undertake to develop it themselves.
"Our clients are looking for simplicity," D'Astolfo says.
Some TMCs also will be interested in accessing the airlines ancillary services through the Rearden Personal Assistant, although they might have to hook up to Farelogix anyway if they use multiple corporate booking tools, D'Astolfo says.
D'Astolfo says he was interested in the Farelogix partnership "primarily for the ancillary fees" access.
Jim Davidson, the president and CEO of Farelogix, says three major North American airlines are distributing ancillary services through Farelogix and a fourth one will be added soon.
Davidson says he can't disclose the names of the airlines, but the ancillary services being distributed include check-in, lounge passes, seat payments and bag fees.
"Things are coming together," Davidson says.
American Airlines undoubtedly is one of the carriers which are involved, and Air Canada would be another safe bet.
"We assume there will be multiple airlines and they could be providing different levels of service," D'Astolfo says.
It's also an open question at this point as to how Rearden will monetize the service in its dealings with the airlines and its Rearden Personal Assistant clients, he adds.
There's no timetable announced for implementation as Rearden has just begun the discovery phase.
"We think this is a large project because this will touch every layer of the application," D'Astolfo says.
In other news, the Rearden Personal Assistant is now live with Southwest Direct Access, providing SWABIZ inventory for Rearden clients with SWABIZ accounts and also the airline's Web-only fares.
Previously, Rearden was only providing limited Southwest content available through GDSs.