EasyJet And Amadeus Use 'Light' Touch To Integrate XML Transactions

Amadeus today announced that easyJet is the first carrier to be designated within its distribution system as a "light ticketing airline." The next step in the global distribution system operator's "ticketless access level," light ticketing is meant to improve access to low-cost carrier inventory and integrate content into traditional travel agency workflows.

Aspects of agent transactions including checking availability and pricing, booking and reporting are accomplished through "the introduction of a virtual ticket number" that "acts as a locator throughout the fulfillment process," according to Amadeus. It marks "the first time" that Amadeus agent displays "in one single screen" blend traditional shopping, booking and back-office functions "with real-time dynamic fares and a full ancillary offering" through an airline XML connection.

As such, Amadeus-connected agents also can "modify easyJet PNRs for flights and services as they would when booking a traditional airline."

EasyJet director for sales, distribution and business Andrew Hodges in a blog post wrote, "The introduction of enhanced back-office functionality for booking and ticketing will enable travel agents to search, process and book easyJet flights in exactly the same way and with the same look and feel of traditional or flag carriers. We expect this adoption to increase easyJet bookings and help us to continue to strengthen long-term partnerships with travel agents and in turn their relationships with corporate clients."

Amadeus noted that easyJet in 2007 was the first "low-cost airline" to connect to it via an XML connection.

Amadeus indicated that the new system enhancements targeted at low-cost and "hybrid" carriers in general will be made available "in a phased approach."

While other initiatives by distributors may include a "seamless availability flow" and easyJet content displayed along with other carriers' content on a single screen, an Amadeus spokesperson said the Amadeus Ticket Changer component is a key differentiator. Amadeus Ticket Changer, the spokesperson explained, automates "the calculation necessary to reissue a ticket. In the past, travel agents had to reissue calculations manually. With Amadeus Ticket Changer, they can instantly calculate the price difference including fare and tax and determine the appropriate penalty amount, residual value and update the PNR with the correct additional total amount as they would do for any other carrier."

A Travelport spokesperson, however, claimed the company "is already supporting the full range of functionality" regarding easyJet. At Sabre, which also connects to easyJet via XML, an official indicated the company does not offer the full range of functionality Amadeus announced today but is "working closely with easyJet on a number of technology projects to support its growth in the corporate travel sector."

EasyJet at press time did not reply to clarify any differences in functionality offered by the three GDS operators.