There has been a lot of talk about New Distribution Capability (NDC), the technology standard that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has put forth as a solution for improving how airline content is distributed. As more in the travel industry start to pilot NDC-enabled connections — including American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) — more travel managers (TM) are wondering how NDC may impact their travel programs.

According to a white paper that American Express GBT produced with ACTE called “The Evolution of Air Distribution: How Will It Impact Your Travel Programme?”, there still is a lot of uncertainty and perplexity over NDC.

“[It] is as confusing as blockchain!” one TM lamented in an online survey conducted for the study.

“I’ve heard lots of noise but really don’t know what it is,” another TM expressed.

“The story seems to vary greatly, depending on who is telling it,” yet another said.

Despite their confusion, TMs do have certain perceptions about NDC and what it means for their travel programs. Some of the highlights from “The Evolution of Air Distribution” include:

  • How TMs believe NDC will impact their travel program (spoiler alert: a majority believes it will improve the booking experience but hinder fare transparency)
  • How confident TMs are of their understanding of NDC (don’t worry, you’re not alone if you still feel puzzled by it all — here’s a glossary that may help)
  • What TMs plan to do: introduce NDC to their travel programs now or take a “wait and see” approach

“The Evolution of Air Distribution” also examines shifts beyond NDC that are impacting air programs and shines a spotlight on out-of-policy ancillaries. Specifically, we asked TMs about:

  • Whether travelers are going outside the online booking tools (OBT) to make ancillary purchases, such as seat selection and checked baggage (we think you know the answer to that one)
  • If they have adjusted their travel/reimbursement policies as a result of airfare unbundling
  • If they are tracking ancillary purchases that are made outside the OBT

To learn more about your peers’ sentiments toward NDC and how they are coping with the shifting air distribution paradigm — as well as five ways TMs can prepare for the changes ahead — read the full report here.

And to take an even deeper dive into this topic, check out the webinar ACTE and American Express GBT also are hosting Nov. 7.