Global Distribution Systems and the Federal Traveler

» Posted by on Nov 19, 2012 in Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems, Hotels, Rental Cars | 0 comments

The Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) require that all federal travel be booked using a government travel agent, also known as a Travel Management Center (TMC).  Reservations can be made on-line using an e-Gov travel systems or via a phone call to the TMC.  When you use a TMC, your reservations are booked using one of the Global Distribution Systems (GDS) such as Sabre, Galileo, or Worldspan.  The GDS were previously known as Computer Reservation Systems (CRS) and were created by major airlines to aggregate the schedules, pricing, and inventory of the world’s airlines that could be used by travel agents to make reservations. The GDS eventually began including hotel, rental car, tour and cruise inventory for those companies that wanted to pay to participate. The systems allow for seat selection, electronic or paper ticketing, and other supplemental information such as meal preference, handicap services and special needs. For many years, airlines paid the GDS for this service, and in turn, the GDS paid travel agencies.  When the U.S. Department of Transportation deregulated the GDS in 2004, airlines and the GDS entered into a three-year agreement to provide stability until the effects of a deregulated marketplace could be better understood.  When the agreement ended, airlines reduced the amount they pay to the GDS, which impacted how much the TMC receives when making airline reservations and required adjustments to the fees they charge.  GDS system usage is not mandatory for travel suppliers and can be participated in from full access to search capabilities only.

by Diana Bonnell

The contents of this message are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the Government or my agency.



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