Sabre Taps US Airways’ Web Fares

Three-year agreement allows Sabre to offer agents virtually all of carrier’s fares

US Airways made all of its Web fares available to Sabre-connected agents in a deal Sabre also is offering to other carriers, according to a Travel Management Daily report.

Under a three-year agreement between the airline and the GDS, Sabre is cutting its GDS fee to the airline by 10% and freezing the fee at that level for three years, US Airways officials said.

In exchange, US Airways is providing Sabre with virtually all of its fares. The only Web-fare exception will be opaque fares in which the airline is not named until the ticket is booked, as is the case with Priceline and Hotwire.

US Airways is talking to other GDSs about striking similar deals, said Ben Baldanza, the airline’s senior vice president of marketing and planning. Sabre, meanwhile, is making this type of deal available to any carrier under a new offering it calls Direct Connect Availability Three-Year Option, of which US Airways is the first customer.

Sabre said the deal guarantees Sabre access to all published fares, promotions and services of a participating airline and commits the carrier to a three-year term at the highest level of participation in the GDS, in exchange for an established booking fee rate.

All content will be made available through all Sabre- connected channels, both online and offline.

ASTA immediately labeled the move “a major breakthrough.” President Richard Copland said it has long been ASTA’s contention that travel agents have access to all fares.

“The very existence of this program contradicts the argument airlines have made in the past that more ubiquitous distribution of Web fares would lead to their demise,” he said. “Now, in US Airways, we have a carrier that has realized it can sell airline seats efficiently by offering travel agents access to all its fares through the computer reservation systems and still maintain control of its yield.”

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