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NDC Guide

What are the benefits of NDC?

Explore the benefits of NDC and exclusive content including cheaper fare classes, promotional offers, and ancillaries not available using GDS EDIFACT channels.

Explore differentiated content by airline.

Discover content and benefits exclusively available with NDC. If attributes are available through GDS providers using EDIFACT, they will not be included. Airlines are listed regardless of connectivity with Duffel.

  • Avoids GDS/EDIFACT fee of

    $7.25 per segment

    Fares

    meal iconExclusive fares

    Continuous Pricing

    N/A

    Dynamic Pricing

    N/A

    Other benefits

    Exclusive light fare family

  • Avoids GDS/EDIFACT fee of

    N/A

    Ancillaries

    chair iconLounge access

    seat iconPreferred seating

    meal iconSpecial meals

    Fares

    promo_tag iconPromo codes

    money iconFare Bundles

    Continuous Pricing

    N/A

    Dynamic Pricing

    N/A

    Other benefits

    Exclusive corporate fare bundle

  • Avoids GDS/EDIFACT fee of

    N/A

    Ancillaries

    chair iconLounge access

    seat iconPreferred seating

    Continuous Pricing

    N/A

    Dynamic Pricing

    N/A

    Other benefits

    N/A

  • Avoids GDS/EDIFACT fee of

    $21 per ticket

    Ancillaries

    checked_bag iconExtra bags

    chair iconLounge access

    seat iconPreferred seating

    Fares

    meal iconExclusive fares

    Continuous Pricing

    Yes

    Dynamic Pricing

    N/A

    Other benefits

    N/A

  • Avoids GDS/EDIFACT fee of

    $8 per passenger per segment

    Ancillaries

    clock iconEarly access

    Fares

    meal iconExclusive fares

    Continuous Pricing

    N/A

    Dynamic Pricing

    N/A

    Other benefits

    N/A

  • Avoids GDS/EDIFACT fee of

    $14 per ticket

    Ancillaries

    checked_bag iconExtra bags

    seat iconPreferred seating

    Continuous Pricing

    Yes

    Dynamic Pricing

    N/A

    Other benefits

    N/A

  • Avoids GDS/EDIFACT fee of

    $21 per ticket

    Ancillaries

    checked_bag iconExtra bags

    chair iconLounge access

    seat iconPreferred seating

    Fares

    meal iconExclusive fares

    Continuous Pricing

    Yes

    Dynamic Pricing

    N/A

    Other benefits

    N/A

Full color logo for Aegean Airlines

Aegean Airlines

Avoids GDS/EDIFACT fee of

$7.25 per segment

Ancillaries

N/A

Fares

star_in_disk iconExclusive fares

Continuous Pricing

N/A

Dynamic Pricing

N/A

Other benefits

Exclusive light fare family

All information sourced from airline’s direct websites and press releases. Last updated: 16 May 2022.

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What is exclusive NDC content?

Exclusive content, differentiated content, or NDC content. It's called different names across the industry but the concept is the same: it's the airline content you'll benefit from by using New Distribution Capability (NDC) that isn't available through GDS EDIFACT channels.

Airline content describes anything sold or offered by an airline including flight tickets, ancillaries like seats and bags, frequent flyer programme benefits, and anything related to order management like changes or cancellations.

Exclusive NDC content refers to airline content that’s different from GDSs accessing airline content using EDIFACT – Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce, and Transport is the legacy technology that has underpinned the industry since the 1980s and is the main third-party distribution method used by the industry.

What are the benefits of NDC?

New Distribution Capability (NDC) has transformed the air travel industry. Running an airline is costly with profit margins typically ranging from 3-5%. And running a business selling flights is difficult when product offerings are small and customers are price sensitive. To stay profitable and competitive, airlines and travel sellers need to lower costs and increase revenue, but this is difficult with legacy technology platforms - NDC is here to change that.

NDC helps airlines and travel sellers deliver better customer experiences and generate more revenue with modern retailing opportunities including new products, better pricing structures, and transparent data sharing.

No GDS fees

Global Distribution Systems (GDSs) like Sabre, Amadeus, and Travelport dominate the content distribution landscape. They charge a fee to airlines for each booking made on their platforms and as they process such large booking volumes, it's difficult for airlines to avoid these fees.

To recover costs and encourage GDSs to develop NDC solutions, airlines charge their own fees on tickets sold through the platforms, which are often passed on to the traveller or seller. Travel sellers can avoid these fees entirely by connecting to an airline using NDC, either directly or through an NDC provider.

What are the differences between NDC and GDS?

Discover how NDC capabilities and pricing structures compare to a GDS.

Read more

New upsell and cross-sell products

The rise of low-cost carriers and seat-only ticket options means ancillaries are becoming an increasingly important way for airlines and travel sellers to differentiate themselves from competitors and make money by upselling or cross-selling extra products.

GDSs use the legacy technology standard EDIFACT which restricts the breadth of ancillaries and forces static pricing without modern upselling and cross-selling techniques like personalisation available with NDC.

Airlines and travel sellers can use NDC to offer ancillaries like seats, bags, in-flight entertainment, WiFi, meals, and airport lounge access. These can be offered to customers using advanced demand and pricing models to optimise conversion rates.

Unparalleled rich content

Airlines spend a lot of money to design the best passenger experiences. Rich content refers to the information and media to showcase the features of these experiences, for example, videos of business class suites, photos of seats with extra legroom, or information about a first class airport lounge.

This is an important way for airlines to showcase their value propositions - standardised across channels - and to encourage customers to pay extra for premium experiences and services. Rich content can't be distributed through the legacy EDIFACT standard, but it can through NDC.

Transparent data sharing

NDC lets airlines and travel sellers securely share customer data - this isn't possible through legacy systems. By identifying a traveller, their characteristics, and their shopping behaviour, airlines can tailor offers and product bundles regardless of the travel seller.

For example, when a frequent flyer who regularly books flights on the same route is looking for a new flight, the airline could offer a free upgrade.

Better pricing structures

Airlines want to sell the greatest number of seats on a flight and they need to consider dozens of factors affecting customer demand and price sensitivity to help them do that. But they're limited to 26 price points on a single aircraft when GDS providers surface flights using EDIFACT which restricts their ability to effectively adapt to modern customer purchasing behaviour.

They can use new pricing structures - continuous pricing, dynamic pricing, personalised offers, and dynamic bundling - to optimise prices, deliver personalised customer experiences, and increase revenue.

Continuous pricing smooths the price curve with smaller price jumps and no limit on the number of price points compared to GDSs. For example, two seats on the same flight available at two different price points through a GDS could be priced at £150 and £250. When the first seat is sold for £150, the airline and travel seller might lose out on a new customer who's willing to pay £200 but not £250 for the second seat and the airline doesn't have the flexibility to lower the price to meet demand.

Now with NDC, the airline isn't limited to only a few price points. The two seats in the example could be priced at £175 and £200 - the airline can make more revenue from the first customer and capture the second customer at the price they're willing to pay.

Dynamic pricing is similar to continuous pricing in that it gives airlines a seemingly unlimited number of price points. The key difference here is that dynamic pricing is based on contextual information like the weather, public holidays, travel time, length of trip, and remaining flight seat capacity. This pricing structure has been around since the 1980s although the price can now be updated in real-time through NDC rather than updating and filing fares with a third party based on the 26 price points available through GDSs.

Personalised offers fall under the dynamic pricing category and refer to offers customised based on an individual's characteristics or personal data. For example, if a travel seller identifies a frequent flyer or loyalty programme member, they can pass this information to the airline to return a personalised offer - this could be a cheaper fare or free or discounted ancillaries.

Dynamic bundling refers to airlines offering product bundles to customers based on contextual information. The type of products and prices can be changed and offered to customers in real-time compared to the static updates available through legacy systems.

Exclusive fares and promotions

Dozens of the world's most popular airlines are currently developing NDC distribution channels for better retailing opportunities. To encourage travel sellers to move to the new technology standard, and to incentivise GDSs to invest in NDC, airlines offer exclusive fare classes and promotions.

Airlines offer these for structural and tactical discounting to give flight sellers a financial advantage by using NDC distribution channels. Structural discounts are typically applied to the distribution channel for a longer period of time, for example, all fares could be £10 cheaper through NDC. Tactical discounts are applied for ad hoc campaigns over a shorter period of time, for example, winter or summer holiday sales. These short-term sales may or may not be available through GDSs depending on the airline's revenue strategy.

Airlines also remove products from GDS such as Avianca's XS product or Aegean's Light Fare, or they provide better offers only through NDC to customer groups like frequent flyers and corporate customers.

Faster go-to-market

NDC is also enabling new travel sellers to enter the industry. New airline content, pricing, and distribution channels give businesses more options compared to being restricted to a few capabilities and ancillaries available through a handful of GDS platforms in the past, often with inflexible contract terms and high fees.

What are the drawbacks of NDC?

Although airlines, travel sellers, and technology providers are focusing on NDC as the future of content distribution, it's important to consider the realities of innovating a 100+ year-old industry.

NDC is designed as an industry-wide standard, however, standardisation has proven difficult to achieve. In reality, due to new versions of NDC being released, different interpretations of the standard by dozens of airlines, and hundreds of third parties working on integrations, NDC guidelines can differ widely. This can lead to longer integration times and more costly ongoing maintenance.

As with any new technology, adoption takes time. Despite dozens of airlines working on direct NDC channels, there are hundreds more airlines that aren't using the standard yet. These include low-cost carriers which have traditionally avoided working with intermediaries like GDSs in favour of direct-to-customer distribution. This gives them the greatest control over customer experience and keeps costs low, however, it means third-party travel sellers either can't offer their flights or they need to invest in development time to build custom integrations.

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