Delta Lifts Page From AA Distribution Playbook

American Airlines last summer famously (or infamously) began offering a package of perks that may interest corporate travelers but withheld that package from the booking channels most likely to be used by those travelers. Delta is doing the same thing. [more]

When AA announced its Boarding and Flexibility Package--the fee-based bundle including priority boarding, discounted change fees and free standby--manager of merchandising strategy Cory Garner told us that "you might consider this the first of many things to come that will differentiate our direct-connect capabilities from the capabilities we make available through a traditional GDS connection." That distinction is at the heart of the debate on defining full content.

And now we have Delta saying it won't sell its upgraded "Economy Comfort" international premium-economy class through traditional GDS channels. "We are very focused on controlling our product, controlling our data, controlling the relationship with our customers, so our upgrade for international Economy Comfort will be sold through," said Delta CEO Richard Anderson, when asked during this week's quarterly conference call with analysts and media about the carrier's deal with Farelogix. "We are continuing to pursue a strategy where we control the quality, quantity and consumer relationship in our distribution. Farelogix is another avenue--there are a number of distribution avenues in this industry. We have distribution through travel agencies, distribution through online agencies, distribution through our reservations and distribution through Farelogix for those entities that want to hook directly to Delta. We are looking at making certain we are maximizing revenues from each of the distribution channels and Farelogix is another opportunity to do so."

A Delta spokesman later confirmed that "Economy Comfort will only be sold through Delta channels."