Northwest and Priceline.com
reached a distribution agreement that makes Northwest's opaque
fares available on Priceline for the first time in four years.
opaque inventory from Priceline in May 2002, complaining that
Priceline changed its business model when it began experimenting
with selling retail and branded airline tickets. Priceline began
marketing its retail air program in January 2004.
In November 2004,
Northwest took an additional step away from Priceline by removing
its retail inventory from Priceline.com and Priceline-owned Lowestfare.com, citing high distribution costs,
including GDS fees.
The thaw in
relations between Northwest and Priceline evidently reflects the
recent contract renewals under which airlines have reduced their
GDS bookings fees.
developed a supplier-friendly structure and offers marketing
opportunities that meet our needs and allows us to broaden the
online base of travelers we serve," said Al Lenza, Northwest's vice
president of distribution and e-commerce.
Asked to clarify
what "supplier-friendly structure" means, Northwest spokesman Roman
Blahoski said, "Priceline.com has provided Northwest with
competitive distribution economics."
Priceline is also
moving to diversify its GDS vendors beyond what was an exclusive
arrangement with Worldspan.
Priceline.com began using Sabre, and the GDS began processing some
of the online agency's air bookings.
G2 SwitchWorks may
begin to handle some Priceline bookings in the near future.
to provide opaque inventory (when consumers don't know the airline
brand when they buy a ticket) to Priceline competitor Hotwire,
which is owned by Expedia Inc.
does not sell published fares on Hotwire.
contact reporter Dennis Schaal, send e-mail to [email protected].