WORLDSPAN continued its evolution away from
mainframes and moved its fare-shopping application for Canadian
subscribers to client servers. And CEO Rakesh Gangwal told
financial analysts last week that Worldspan is contemplating
transitioning the remainder of its GDS off IBM mainframes, as well.
And, in another development, Worldspan revealed that it outsourced
its first-level help desk for agencies to a Michigan company that
operates call centers for Worldspan in Belgium and Romania. The
migration, to be completed within a month, replaces most of the 23
regional help desks that Worldspan operated on its own. Under the
new set-up, local calls from the U.S., Canada, Europe and the
Middle East are routed to help desks in Brussels and Bucharest.
sold 1.6 million copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
in the third quarter and SideStep, the travel search engine, hopes the Web
retailer will put SideSteps travel offerings before millions of
eyeballs, as well. The two companies signed a deal in which
SideSteps comparative-shopping engine will anchor the coveted space
on Amazons travel store beginning in early 2006, displacing Expedia
Inc.s Hotwire, which has the premier position on Amazon today. Amazon
might be hoping that the third times the charm. Thats because
SideStep represents Amazons third attempt to nail down its travel
offerings since it unveiled the store in September 2001. Back then,
Expedia was the featured booking engine, Hotwire provided
discounted flights and NLG offered cruise vacations. But Hotwire replaced
Expedia in 2002, when Expedia and Amazon got into a legal tussle,
with each accusing the other of violating their linking
IN A RELATED
DEVELOPMENT, American and SideStep signed a marketing
agreement, the airlines fourth with a travel search engine.
American sued FareChase in 2003, alleging unauthorized scraping.
But Mobissimo and SideStep have direct-connects with AA.com, accessing
fares and schedules through an XML interface. American also now has
agreements with Yahoo/FareChase and Kayak.
warned its U.S. subscribers to stop abusing the vendors services
with the alleged improper use of passive segments. Habitual
offenders could lose the ability to use Sabre for certain passive
segments that the company views as legitimate and would be required
to pay for the passive segments [currently non-billable] if they
want the functionality restored. The policy, effective Dec. 1,
refers to YK segments that were booked and ticketed outside the
Sabre GDS but imported into the system for management. The vendor
said it has seen an increased incidence of improper use of YKs by
airlines, agencies, fare aggregators and corporate booking tools.
Legitimate uses of YK bookings include the management of groups,
and handling PNRs when consolidators hold the active reservations,
SWITCHWORKS introduced in beta G2Agent, a Web-based
distribution platform for midsize, ARC-accredited agencies that
comes with incentives. G2Agent, scheduled for launch early next
year, will offer free registration for ARC-accredited agencies and
requires no long-term contracts. Providing incentives is an
about-face for G2, which previously argued that incentives should
be subject to airline-agency negotiations. The distribution
platform comes with guaranteed content from nine airline partners
-- American, United, Delta, Continental, US Airways, Northwest,
America West, AirTran and Alaska. G2 also has a letter of intent
from JetBlue. Leisure agencies can use G2Agent to access and book
inventory, including private and promotional fares, from G2s
airline partners, and they can shop, but not book, hundreds of
other airlines using search tools based on ITA Software technology.
G2s corporate and leisure offerings have similar functionalities,
although the corporate product works through private networks and
is not Web-based.