The always entertaining Dave Hilfman from Continental Airlines last week spoke at The Masters Program, touching on a variety of airline industry topics. He did not discuss GDSs during his prepared remarks, and suggested that they "must be so thrilled I didn't mention them." But a question from the audience drew the following Hilfmanesque response (cleansed of the worst expletives): [more]
"All the major airlines always will try to squeeze the GDS down a little bit because you always figure that transaction costs are coming down and advancements are made in technology. You shouldn't have to pay the same for a $200 ticket as you do for a $2,000 ticket. It just doesn't make sense. We don't mind paying more for the value delivered for the higher-end tickets, but if I can do it cheaper on my Web site and costs drive it, why am I paying so much for the low-fare stuff? There will always be some kind of pissing match between the airlines and GDSs. That is our God-given right and we're gonna take it."
Hilfman's comments were on Gordon Wilson's mind the next day when he addressed attendees. The Travelport CEO quipped that "Dave Hilfman doesn't feel much compassion for the GDS sector." Wilson then went on to "outline what the industry has done and the steps we have taken to remain current."