Technology has shifted the landscape of distribution, and transitioned the industry away from having a clear division between direct and third-party to much more of a spectrum.

First apps came along – offering a more direct solution than websites, and a route to customers that cut out the more complex world of navigating search engines. More recently messaging, chat bots and voice platforms have entered the fray - bringing with them the possibility for brands to meet users and interact with them on the devices they use daily. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter take this even further, being both entrenched customer interaction tools as well as providing environments for air ticket deals to be pushed.


As travellers experiment with new ways to discover trips, airlines have to consider the whole host of platforms within which a booking can take place, whilst also thinking about whether interactions such as social media, or chatbot messenger which feel fairly direct to a customer will be considered as direct or third party.

The winners in this new era of distribution will be those that can see the value in bringing a rich and differentiated shopping experience to travellers, across the greatest span of platforms and devices. Our whitepaper penned by Skyscanner co-founder and CEO Gareth Williams outlines how airlines can achieve this and presents a vision for a fresh form of Direct Booking in metasearch.


In the aviation industry, direct booking vs third party distribution has always been an either/or choice. Those days have come to an end.

Emerging platforms like voice and bots, coupled with evolving online marketplaces, mean the lines are blurring. So the point where an intermediary’s relationship with the traveller ends and an airline’s begins is no longer as clear as it once was.

The time has come to offer a fresh form of direct booking in metasearch.
Here, after months of consultation with our partners, we set out Skyscanner’s vision offering the best of both worlds. All the benefits of ancillary up-sell and branding control, coupled with access to a growing and engaged audience of travellers across new platforms.

Quite simply, I believe it’s the future for airlines.
— Gareth Williams, CEO, Skyscanner


Interested in learning more about our vision for distribution? Download our whitepaper now!