There are other factors at play here as well. First, airlines know their particular customers better than the government or the GDS. Plus; the GDS haven’t evolved as the industry has dramatically changed.

Today’s GDS force the airlines to compete only on two factors; service and price. By limiting areas how airlines compete, the product offered is the definition of pure commodity. This was true in 1983 just as it is today.

Despite the airline industry’s efforts to remove more than $20 billion in expenses over the past decade, the price of another commodity essential to its business increased more than fourfold – oil. The airline industry is left with little choice, if it is to ever be a sustainable business, but to begin the process of de-commoditizing its product and finding new revenue sources. To do so, means fundamentally altering its legacy relationship with the GDS and recapturing control over its inventory.

The airline industry has found new ways to generate revenue by offering customers products they value and are willing to pay for, including seat upgrades, passing through security faster or day passes to airport clubs. Bag fees, now charged by the majority of U.S. carriers, reflect a more accurate way to pay for what you use. In other words, customers that don’t check bags no longer subsidize the cost of those who do.

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