Delta Airlines to Test Out New NDC Booking System

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Delta Airlines plans to initiate trials of its inaugural New Distribution Capability (NDC) version alongside chosen partners later this year, revealed Sara Reid, the airline’s Managing Director overseeing Sales Technology and Global Sales Support

Sara Reid, Delta’s managing director of sales technology and global sales support, shared the airline’s distribution strategy during a panel discussion at the Elevate + TravelConnect conference, co-hosted by ARC and ATPCO. Reid reassured industry professionals that Delta has no immediate plans to introduce a GDS surcharge or to withdraw content from systems reliant on legacy Edifact technology. 

Instead, Delta remains focused on elevating the entire corporate travel ecosystem, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and innovation. Through ongoing engagement with various stakeholders, including travel agencies, OTAs, GDSs, and corporate clients, Delta aims to gain valuable insights into their needs and challenges. By prioritizing through servicing capabilities and ensuring a seamless transition to NDC technology, Delta is committed to delivering an enhanced travel experience for all stakeholders involved. 

Delta has lagged behind American and United, the other two major U.S. network airlines in advancing its adoption of New Distribution Capability (NDC). By pledging to introduce its NDC solution only when it possesses a comprehensive set of servicing capabilities, Delta aims to alleviate concerns expressed by travel advisors. These advisors have faced challenges in managing NDC-enabled airline tickets and are seeking reassurance from Delta about the effectiveness of its NDC solution. Notably, ASTA has been vocal in opposing American’s NDC booking strategy since its implementation a year ago.

In December, ASTA highlighted several issues, including the inability to hold a booking, the requirement to complete the air booking before adding car and hotel reservations, lack of virtual payment capability, and the inability to support rules or custom fields, which are crucial for agencies managing corporate accounts.

Furthermore, Delta intends to maintain its distinction from United and American, particularly American, by refraining from withdrawing content from traditional Global Distribution Systems (GDSs) until the agency community demonstrates readiness. However, Reid acknowledged that Delta has maximized its merchandising capabilities under Edifact technology. Advancing its fare product offerings within agency channels will necessitate transitioning to NDC. She mentioned that the airline plans to reveal its NDC design partners in the upcoming week