Alternative ways of purchasing air tickets and GDS Connectivity: That does not include Internet or personal TA contact
1. Mobile Booking: Booking of flight tickets and other facilities, for example reviewing flight schedules, comparing fares can be done using the mobile phone. Calling up the customer care of the airline or the travel agent is obvious, however we are discussing about the other means that does not involve talking to an agent.
a. SMS A short code can be sent to the TA provided code with specific parameters to receive the required information.
Example: Cleartrip provides a facility to send an SMS to 667744 with source, destination, date and month. The reply comes with list of flight codes, time of departure and price, all sorted by price in ascending order. This service is available to Cleartrip’s customers having Airtel, BPL, Hutch and Reliance connection.
b. Interactive voice response A specific number provided by the carrier can be called, and an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) would ask questions and guide the user through. The IVR can also take the payment details and process the payment. The e-ticket can be either sent as email or can be collected over the counter.
JetAirways uses the IVR system for payment at the call center. After the itinerary is created by the call centre agent, the customer can pay for his tickets via the IVR.This ensures that the payment details are secure. After the payment is successful, the e-ticket is automatically generated by the application and mailed to the customer
Shanghai SmartPay Jieyin has partnered with Lu Hai Kong travel agency in Hefei, Anhui Province, to jointly launch mobile and telephone based payment for airline electronic tickets. As part of the launch promotion, customers who buy airline e-ticket in Lu Hai Kong ticket agency and process payment via interactive voice response (IVR)
2. Smart Card A smart card (also known as chip card or integrated circuit card-ICC), is a pocket-sized card with embedded integrated circuits which can process information. It can receive input, process it using the ICC applications and delivers the output. The airline smart card enables to easily and quickly identify passengers, board a flight, obtain a ticket, and pay for other products and services. The smart card provides airlines the opportunity to make savings in distribution costs, provides better security against fraud, allows more of their passengers to use self-service facilities, and provides a better means of identification of their frequent travelers.
Examples: Air France has issued smart cards to frequent flyers on its routes from Paris Orly to Marseille and Toulouse. The card is a contact-less smart card using the Mifare radio frequency technology (similar to the Lufthansa card). Gemplus is the supplier of the cards. The card has been used as passenger identification, the ticket and boarding authority.
3. GDS developed Application GDS provides applications that the participating carrier can purchase and use to inform its passengers by means of alerts on their mobile phones. The alerts can be for flight delays, terminal/gate changes, flight cancellations, airport/airline alerts, city/country security alerts, as well as a trip reminder service. Alerts can be private or custom branded with contact information and can be sent via Voice, e-mail, fax or Short Messaging System (SMS). Customized alerts or marketing messages can be also created to get in touch with the passengers anywhere they may be; Patheo offers this same applications too. The alerts can be delivered to travelers via WML and HDML phones, Web-enabled PDAs and RIM Blackberry devices. Any device that receives e-mail or SMS (AOL, MSN, Yahoo, ICQ) can receive Alert Notifications.
Example: Sabre InformSM mobile service is a solution that provides the participating carriers passengers with access to their travel plans – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Mobile services for the customers can be enabled at minimal cost, time and effort. There is no hardware or software to purchase, no developers to train and no systems to maintain and operate. Convenient, efficient and easy to implement, Sabre InformSM helps foster long-term customer relationships and maintain a distinct competitive advantage.
4. Airline developed Application A software application can be installed on the phone that would provide access to a specific airline’s reservation system, book, pay and generate e-tickets via phone. This would require a JAVA enabled handset with GPRS connection.
Example: Jet Airways has launched a mobile airline-ticketing service called JetWallet. JetWallet allows to book, pay (via credit card) and generate e-tickets on the phone. E-Tickets are emailed to a user specified email addresses, and a copy of the details is sent via SMS. JetWallet also allows to change,cancel and refund e-tickets on the phone.There’s also an option to check-in via JetWallet. The application can be used for domestic flights only.
5. Phone Manufacturer/GDS developed Application Mobile phone manufacturers generally provide integrated software for the use of applications like MS Office and also for connecting to the Internet using GPRS on WAP. These applications can also provide pre-programmed interface to a GDS. Using this feature, travel plans can be made, schedules can be seen and tickets can also be booked.
Example: Sabre Holdings signed an agreement with Motorola to power its Mobile Office Solution with travel and ticketing capabilities for mobile professionals. Motorola’s integration with Sabre's wireless travel is a part of its Travel Connector component of the Mobile Office Solution. Also Patheo (Patheo GDS) has a similar technology using mobile office electric transactions on current GDS solutions.
Motorola and WORLDSPAN furnish travel information via Motorola's Internet-access-enabled wireless devices. Through Motorola's Mobile Internet Exchange communications platform (also known as the MIX platform) and its enhanced voice capabilities carriers will be able to offer their customers access to WORLDSPAN's travel services through any phone. WORLDSPAN is the first travel channel provider to the core content of Motorola's MIX platform.
Example: Amadeus, a Spanish-based technology provider for the travel and tourism industries, is live with its Wireless Travel Management (WTM) system together with Scandinavian regional carrier Wideroe. The system enables Wideroe's customers to check flight availability and book or cancel flights with over 500 airlines around the globe from a WAP-enabled mobile device. In addition, passengers traveling with Wideroe can receive real-time updates about flight departure and arrival times. WTM was developed jointly by Amadeus, Swedish telecomms systems provider Ericsson and Smart, Amadeus' Scandinavian and Baltic distribution partner.