Delta Air Lines
– the only one of the three major United States-based network airlines that has
not launched a new distribution capability (NDC) solution
– said it will do so
later this year with a product that is “anchored around servicing.”

Those were
the words of Delta’s managing director of sales technology and global sales
support, Sara Reid, during a session Wednesday at Elevate + TravelConnect, an
event co-hosted by airline retailing technology company ATPCO and air travel data company ARC

In the
discussion led by The Beat editor in chief Jay Boehmer, Reid said the airline has been working
with its partners, including corporate travel managers and agencies, global
distribution systems, online booking tools and other sellers, to “deeply
understand” their processes as it strives to build an NDC solution that meets their

Reid went on
to explain that Delta has no plans to implement a global distribution system (GDS) surcharge, like
Air France-KLM, Lufthansa Group and others
, or to remove
content from the GDS
s like American Airlines.

“What we
want to do is to create new products that customers are asking for and we want to
deliver them through this new technology,” she said.

“Servicing is a
huge opportunity. Today when our corporate travelers shop in a third-party
channel and they make a change in our direct channel, our travel agency
partners will lose the ability to be able to service them for subsequent
changes. Also the data is a mess – we’re 
not able to see it for duty of care and things like that. I firmly
believe if this transformation is done right that the servicing journey is
going to get a lot better.”

co-founder and CEO Jeff Klee was also part of the discussion. His company is
one of the partners Delta has been working with as it designs its NDC solution.

“I really appreciate
the thoughtful approach that Delta is taking,” he said.

“They are,
in fairness, coming at this a little bit late, but they are really trying to get
the benefit of that hindsight. … The level of detail and the level of thoughtfulness
… they are dissecting every little detail about our operations so that when
they release this product or build this product they are not leaving any stone

Reid said next
week Delta will announce the “solution design partners” it has selected to
create its NDC solution.

“We believe they
are best in class for the industry, and we are challenging these partners to
not just deliver an out-of-the-box solution but to really tackle some of these business challenges that we know are
unresolved for our customers,” she said. 

Delta also
released its financial results for the first quarter of 2024 on Wednesday. The
company posted record revenue of $12.6 billion, 6% above the first quarter last year, and shared
an upbeat outlook for the coming months.

“Consumer demand is robust and premium trends remain strong,”
said Delta Air Lines president Glen Hauenstein, in a call with analysts to
discuss the results.

“The outlook for corporate travel is positive. Ninety percent
of companies in our recent survey intend to maintain or increase travel volumes
in [the second quarter], putting us back on track to deliver record corporate revenues in the
back half of this year.”

*The reporter’s attendance at the event was
supported by ATPCO.

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