After the turn of the century, distribution in the airline industry was a relatively simple affair.  Direct distribution meant the customer going straight to an airline's website to make their booking.  Everything outside of that in terms of Internet sales was considered third party, and that third party distribution came with a cost attached to it. As a result, the choice for airlines looked fairly simple: bringing traffic to airline.com direct meant generating bookings, which could then be effectively upsold at a far lower cost of acquisition.

 

The binary world of direct distribution vs. third party distribution through a Global Distribution System