Skyscanner and BA launch industry-first booking via NDC Standard

Skyscanner and BA launch industry-first booking via NDC Standard

In an industry first, British Airways is teaming up with Skyscanner to launch a new way to help customers make more informed decisions about the airline they’re flying with when they book with the airline via a travel search engine.

The first-phase trial of NDC booking begins with British Airways

The first-phase trial, which starts today, will see British Airways become the first global airline to offer tickets using the New Distribution Capability (NDC) standard, an International Air Transport Association (IATA) initiative that offers customers a more informative and flexible choice when booking airline tickets. Skyscanner is the first travel meta-search engine with the capacity to display and sell the tickets directly through its facilitated booking platform.

This new solution will enable customers to browse elements such as cabin details, baggage allowance and upgrade options.

At this stage, it will be available to customers using smartphones in the UK and through all devices in France, Germany and Switzerland.

British Airways on the move

Sara Dunham, British Airways’ head of marketing, retail and direct, said: “This partnership with Skyscanner will improve the experience for customers booking flights through travel search engines and they will be able to view more information about their flight from cabin choice to aircraft type. We all know consumers are more sophisticated and demand a more seamless experience, and this initiative lets us deliver that while still maintaining a direct relationship between the customer and British Airways. We look forward to seeing how this trial progresses.”

The future of NDC booking with Skyscanner and British Airways

Initially, the move will only apply to British Airways ticket upgrades via Skyscanner’s facilitated booking engine, but in the future the airline is aiming to offer customers the ability to buy the full range of ancillary options, such as allocated seating and additional baggage through the travel search site.

Skyscanner’s decision to choose NDC positions it as a global distribution point for advanced ticket and ancillary bookings. The travel search engine can now easily publish and process any NDC-ready provider's tickets and ancillaries through its booking platform.

Frank Skivington, Skyscanner’s chief commercial officer, said: “Moving over to IATA’s NDC standard has been a key priority for us. We believe it represents the next generation of flexible and dynamic travel content distribution, and delivers real benefit to both the airlines and to our users. Having the ability to offer tickets plus ancillary streams means we are able to showcase the full range of products and services offered by carriers, while giving our customers more opportunity to select and buy the product that they really want throughout the comparison and shopping process”.