What are the new Airline NDC rules? It changes how you find airfares…

Airlines NDC

I am going to try to make the airlines ‘New Distribution Capability’  (aka…NDC) simple.

Because it will change how you buy airline tickets.

In A Nutshell: Why is NDC important to you?  According to the airlines, the cheapest place to now buy your airline ticket is through them (and their NDC link).   That is going to drive Corporate Travel Agencies, Tour Operators and OTA’s (Online Travel Agencies like Expedia) insane.

The concept is easy once you understand the industry acronyms.

Why the Airlines love NDC:

  • They have more control over how Airline Tickets are distributed.
  • They can now add more ‘ancillary’ services when you buy your ticket. (Baggage Fee’s, Seat Assignments, Meals etc)
  • Tickets sold via NDC are sold through the airlines – and not through Expedia, Booking.com, Travel Agents or other 3rd party sources.  So the airlines have control.

The Travel Industry’s reaction to NDC has been paralysis.  They never expected it to roll out this quickly.

IATA (The International Air Transportation Association) in conjunction with ATPCO (the big database where almost all airfares are loaded) have been building this system since 2015 – yet they implemented it with no advance notice – and travel agencies are freaking out.

A little history:

  • 1964 – IBM and American Airlines created the first airline reservation system (aka. GDS) to automate issuing tickets
  • 1972 – Almost all airlines have designed their own internal systems.   Some, like Southwest, used American’s system
  • 1978 – The Airline Deregulation Act went into effect.  There is no more government regulation of airline fares.
  • 2015 – NDC is announced and programming begins.
  • 2023 – NDC is implemented and the travel industry freaks out.

If you notice, there was very little improvement in the airlines’ GDS since the 70’s.

With all the recent chaos surrounding cancelled flights and airline staffing, every airline admitted they had not invested in adequate technology to prevent the current consumer distress.

Now NDC is coming to the rescue.

The good news:   In the past, if you purchased your airline tickets through a travel agency or a tour operator and you have a flight cancelation or change, the airlines told you to work with your travel agent to get it fixed.  With NDC they can no longer pass the buck.   They have to help you at the counter since they sold you the ticket.

The bad news:   Now airlines can gouge you in many new ways.   The current prices for ‘ancillary items’ like baggage, seats, food etc can now be increased or decreased based on consumer demand.  So get ready to pay more for ancillary items.  And you can expect that the lower airfare will only be available through the airlines once they get the travel industry to settle down.

Our suggestion:   Shop for your airfare.  If you are buying your airline ticket through a 3rd party, definitely check to see if the airlines have a cheaper price available on their website.  And if the price is the same, buy it through the airline.

There will be more about this in the near future.   The rhetoric is just getting started.

Ill keep an eye on it for ya…..


P.S.        Don’t miss 1    Frontier has 20 new flights to the Caribbean

P.P.S      Don’t miss 2  The Latest Seaweed (Sargassum) Report

“I need a vacation that is soooo long – that I forget my passwords.”


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About Jake Johnson 242 Articles
Jake Johnson is a full-time travel bum, who prefers warm climates where the women wear less clothing. We've tried to teach him things like manners and diplomacy, but we've given up and simply rely on our editors to remove the most offensive bits from his articles. We take no responsibility for his inane ramblings opinions - they are his own.
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