ASTA continues to rail against American Airlines

ASTA continues to argue that American Airlines’ NDC distribution strategy has harmed consumers and travel agencies.

The Society this week issued a response to American’s November filing with the Department of Transportation, which was a compulsory response to ASTA’s September complaint about American.

In a rebuttal first published by Skift and shared more widely Tuesday evening, ASTA reiterated that it is not anti-NDC but has issues with the way American implemented it.

ASTA and American have been at loggerheads since American last April removed about 40% of content from the legacy GDSs (technology based on Edifact standards). The airline’s lowest fares were made available only in NDC channels.

ASTA has asked the DOT to require American to restore all fares in the Edifact channel, saying the new strategy was implemented too quickly, harming agencies and the end consumer. American, however, fired back with an accusation that ASTA was protecting travel agencies that are opposed to changes in distribution.ย 

ASTA said there are problems with inefficient comparison shopping, servicing bookings, exchanging tickets and booking certain itineraries.

ASTA also said it was “not accurate to characterize agencies as reluctant to adapt to new technologies. Rather, it is about the ability of agencies and TMCs to provide the level of service clients have come to expect.”

“In their DOT filing, AA intimates that NDC already includes robust functionality,” ASTA said. “That readiness is overstated.”

ASTA called the required workflow for new reservations “atrocious.” The Society also noted that most agencies, outside of large travel management companies and online travel agencies, rely on third-party technology solutions for NDC connectivity, notably the GDSs.

“While the functionality continues to improve, we are all a long way from complete,” ASTA said.

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