How To Roll Out Full Service Carriers (FSC)

This document aims to provide Travelfusion customers with a GoLive guideline on how to successfully deploy FSC available via Travelfusion. The Q&A goes through the key stages involved in the planning, registration, testing, release and operations and discusses the key functional and commercial issues which should be considered. 

 

Six Benefits of the Travelfusion API for FSC searches and bookings?

  • You do not need to connect to any new API's, the new direct API's of FSC airlines (both NDC and other APIs of FSC) are available through your current API connection to Travelfusion and each airline can be set up on demand via your Travelfusion support team.
  • You have complete commercial flexibility, you can continue to use your GDS of choice and your Travelfusion API, on each route you search Travelfusion can identify what is the best channel to use. 
  • Many FSC have adapted their models and now offer competitive one way prices in addition to the return and complex itinerary options. We know many Travelfusion customers value the ability to create their own round trips through assembling one way fares, you can now include FSC in your product using the Travelfusion API.
  • On some routes and for some of your customers you may wish avoid surcharges being applied by certain FSC for bookings made via a GDS system, you have complete flexibility to do so by through your Travelfusion API.
  • On some routes and for some of your customers you may wish to search and book content, whether special fares, fare families or ancillaries that FSC have only made available through their direct API's and not via GDS channels, again available with through the Travelfusion API.
  • Travelfusion is regularly connecting and maintaining new direct API's with FSC so you do not need to, we connect and monitor on your behalf making each available through your current TRavelfusion API.

Success with FSCs

Having transformed the LCC distribution space by offering leading agents and metas a reliable aggregated and scalable access to the largest LCC content, Travelfusion is leading the way in the emerging trend for direct FSC distribution. By contrast to LCCs which run a point to point model, FSCs pricing logic is based on return journeys and incorporates extra complexities such as interlining and multi-segments. Load and costs of searches is often another key factor in driving the success in the onboarding of the FSC direct content. Alongside some of the challenges are also the clear benefits of richer content, more diverse and comprehensive product range including all the fare family types, ancillaries such as seats, luggage meals etc. In this guide we aim to take you through the short recommended stages for the mutual success of consuming direct FSC content via Travelfusion.

 

How to go Live with FSCs?

Step 1 - Adding an FSC Supplier
This is going to be a very easy process which follows the standard activation of all other  Travelfusion suppliers. The only difference is that for many FSCs you may be required to complete or sign a form or an agreement directly with the supplier which will enable you to be identified and access special fares with the supplier.

Registration

  • Contact your Accounts team at Travelfusion and request to activate the FSC
  • TF Accounts team will advise whether any forms require to be sent to the airline for obtaining your credentials. For example, for BA their form (available online) B2 needs to be completed by the agent. An additional agreement may need to be signed with the airline
  • Once the forms and agreements are finalised with the FSC you will receive your login credentials which you will be submitting to the Travelfusion APIs for every request to that supplier
  • TF Recommendation - start the registration process as early as possible before or at the same time as you start testing 

Step 2 - FSC Testing & Go Live Planning
This step may start even prior to the registration process as Travelfusion can set you up with test credentials account until you obtain your own. Testing has two key objectives, 1) standard testing of the flow, checking that the content and functionality are working ok and 2) setting up the routes which should be covered during the different phases of rolling out the service.

The standard checks of the workflow and functionality typically include:

  1. Shopping and booking
  2. Full content including the fare family types
  3. Ancillaries which the FSC supports such as luggage, seats, frequent flyer numbers etc.

Routes Set-Up - for high load leisure services, Travelfusion has designed a dynamic way to enable the most successful bookable routes, while incrementally adding the remaining routes. This deals with key L2B limitations often imposed by the Suppliers.

Step 3 - Go Live

The go live follows the same process as all Travelfusion suppliers. You will be shopping and booking the supplier and the Travelfusion team will monitor to ensure that the supplier system is performing as expected, there are no errors and the bookings are going through. In terms of the booking stages the integration behaves as with any Travelfusion supplier where Travelfusion does the reservation and ticketing in the background so that every booking request is met with an instant ticketing and booking confirmation. On Hold functionality is also available with the expiry window normally open for a 24hr. period. 

We are now turning our attention to the main commercial and operational issues you may encounter when deciding whether to switch on the FSC content.

Key Commercial and Operational Considerations

Q. why should I switch over my FSC feed to Travelfusion
A. Over the past 12 months, emboldened by the momentum of NDC, a growing number of FSCs have either rolled out or in the building stages of their direct connect channels. This marks a huge change in the distribution landscape from the more traditional legacy GDS/ATPCO distribution to a more dynamic and direct model. The main reasons why agents and OBTs are increasingly switching their content sources from GDS to the Direct channels include:

 

  • Content - in many cases FSCs no longer offer full content via their traditional channels. This can take the form of missing classes or varying prices from the direct vs legacy
  • Surcharges - a number of airline groups such as IAG (BA, Iberia & Vueling) and LHG (Brussels, Lufthansa, Swiss & Austrian) have introduced substantial surcharges on the GDS channels ranging from 16 EUR p/ticket to 8.50 GBP p/Segment. These fees are a major driver behind OTAs for switching where it is imperative that they are competitive on the meta searches as well as on all competitor platforms.
  • Fare Families & Branded fares - the Direct channels support all fare types
  • Ancillaries - this is a very significant shift taking place with FSC which have decided to bring their ancillary content in-house. There are now increasing number of cases where the airline will only serve their ancillaries directly from their APIs. While the legacy channels will typically require a very long lead time until they add/change ancillaries (sometimes up to 18 months), Travelfusion already supports the ancillaries and will add any new ones within days. With a rapidly growing number of ancillaries such as seats, luggage, upgrades, meals, lounge access etc. the direct channel is becoming a vital source for differentiating the content.
  • Settlements - the Direct channels offer a similar way to the legacy services for payment either via cards or cash via the BSP. In addition new payment and settlement systems such as tfPay from Travelfusion help on board customers from any location worldwide and help avoid currency conversion.
  • Combining Airlines - increasingly agents and metas are constructing new trips for their customers which include one way trips with one airline and a return with another. Using a single API agents can combine FSC with LCC.

Q. L2B Ratios - do FSCs impose any L2B ratios?
A. Yes most FSCs have L2B ratios. The main reason is that hits to their system translate into availability calls on their PSS system resulting in a charge per search. In order and meet the load limitations, Travelfusion has designed a smart solution which enables the best selling routes and intelligently expands the route coverage. This provides an effective way to manage load and involves both the airlines and the agents. 

Q. Where can I store my FSC direct bookings?
A. The FSC bookings can be stored in the same way as all other Travelfusion bookings. For offline agencies or bookings which have originated via the OBT but then are serviced by the TMC, Travelfusion now also offers a Super PNR solution. The Super PNR is a way for an agency to store all of their GDS and non-GDS bookings in a central repository and link that to their mid-back office systems. For more information contact, sales@travelfusion.com

Q. Post bookings - how can I change/modify a booking
A. For FSCs, Travelfusion offers a wide range of options on how to deal with post booking actions. Agents can change/cancel FSC bookings by:
Going direct to airline.com and making the change
Self service via the Travelfusion change/cancel API
Self service using the tfDesktop or tfIBE which are applications developed specifically for agents which enable the changes and then send the new data to the customer in their preferred format.

Q. Is interlining supported?
A. In majority of cases the direct booking channels support a large number of interline and code-share routes since the system is linked directly to their main reservation (PSS) system.

Q. Is multi-segment search supported?
A. Our recommendation for complex itineraries or ones which involve multi-leg combinations, those queries are directed to non-direct sources such as the GDS. Travelfusion can assist with a tool to direct the query to the most appropriate sour