Virgin Atlantic adds ITA Software flight searchNewsBy Dennis Schaal | June 28, 2010Share This article was originally published on Virgin Atlantic began using ITA Software'sQPX airfare shopping and pricing system on the Virgin website.Previously, Virgin Atlantic used in-house systems for pricing and Datalex for availability, functions which QPX is now handling.When travelers search for a July 6 to July 10 London-Las Vegas itinerary, the flight options appear in a grid showing fares for those dates and three days before and after, as well, like this:For now, this is the same look and feel that Virgin Atlantic previously offered, but the underlying technology is from ITA, which brings faster response times, says David Peller, a regional vice president for ITA handling Europe.Peller says the implementation announced today is just the first phase of the airline's cutover to QPX and new features may be incorporated.He says when consumers select a fare, they will see options to upgrade to higher cabin classes. [I didn't immediately see the upgrade options on a London-New York search.]ITA Software says implementation of its flight shopping and pricing system on Virgin's website also facilitates rewards shopping for Flying Club members, and upselling to the airline's premium cabins.ITA, which opened a regional office in Amsterdam last year, hopes to be making a considerable push into Europe. The office currently supports five sales people and technical staff.In Europe, ITA's QPX shopping systems also has been deployed by TAP Portugal Airlines, Alitalia and LOT Polish Airlines.So, why did Virgin Altantic and European carriers opt for a U.S. shopping and pricing solution?Peller says it's a myth that ITA is a "U.S. solution" since it has customers in North America, Europe and Asia and has operated in Europe for years. Al Italia, for instance, has been an ITA client since 2004, for example, he says.Asked whether the Virgin Atlantic pact encompasses a reservations-system component, Peller says the contract with Virgin Alantic is a "QPX agreement for now."ITA had been building a reservations system for its sole reservations-system client, Air Canada, until early last year, when the airline put the project on hold out of financial considerations.Peller says ITA is talking to European airlines and others "about a full range of solutions."