The new GDS agreement between Travelport and Delta will give travel agencies a chance to earn additional incentives when they augment ticket sales with ancillary items, such as boarding privileges and seat upgrades.
"It creates an opportunity for our agencies to generate more value for travelers, airline partners and themselves as travelers are increasingly considering a variety of products when shopping and booking their flights," a Travelport spokeperson said.
The written comments are the first the GDS has made to the media since the agreement was first reported on by The Beat newsletter, a sister publication to Travel Weekly, on August 20. Delta and Travelport had planned to go live with the announcement on August 9, but ultimately postponed that plan.
Neither company has offered many specifics on the agreement, though Delta has described the value-based arrangement as a "transformative global distribution agreement" that will provide simplified access to all of its products.
That description is similar to how Delta described an agreement it announced with Sabre in early May. Under that deal, Delta has done away with the flat segment fees that are standard within the airline-GDS commercial model and is instead scaling the amount it pays Sabre for a booking based upon the value of that booking.
In a related move, Sabre has also rolled out its New Airline Storefront merchandising platform for its numerous airline partners. The carrier developed New Airline Storefront with assistance from Delta.
Meanwhile... in the courts
Travelport and Delta reached their agreement as American Airlines is fighting Sabre in a Texas, U.S., court in an attempt to block the GDS from using it New Airline Storefront display, alleging the display biases search results toward Delta.
Travelport said it would not comment on the American-Sabre lawsuit, but the company did say the suit did not impact its arrangement with Delta.
Travelport has recently implemented a variety of technological enhancements, including changes to its SmartPoint search result interface to allow for more tailored responses; the introduction of new APIs; and the launch of Travelport+, a single GDS platform that is intended to replace the Galileo, Apollo and Worldspan legacy reservation systems.
"Travelport offers the API data necessary to create user experiences with strong merchandising and retailing capabilities that are intended to clearly communicate the value of every airline's product offering, not just Delta," the company spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added that, "American is a valued partner, and we believe that the value we provide all of our airline partners reflects our desire to improve agency workflow and merchandising across all airlines, not for a specific airline."
The Delta-Travelport deal has not yet taken effect.
"We are in the process of finalizing our rollout plans. We will engage our customers in discussions over the coming months," Travelport said.
* This article originally appeared on Travel Weekly.