Mika From Sweden, joined Jul 2000, 2791 posts, RR: 4 Posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 3086 times:
A friend of mine and i are planning to start up a travel agency here in our local home town, we're in the begining planning on selling flights with the major carriers (LH, SK, TG and so on) but we dont really get it how this is done. Do we need to negotiate some kind of deal with every airline or is there some kind of package so to speak for all the major alliances that travel agents kan buy/get?
Sabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 2, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 3069 times:
I don't know for sure but I think you have to be a licensed IATA travel agency, don't ask me how you get such a license, maybe you can find more information on the IATA website. It would be very helpful when you made an apprenticeship as a travel agent or in the ticketing department of an airline, you must have knowledge in all the reservation systems like Amadeus, Sabre, Worldspan, etc.
I know that a few travel agents are posting here on A.net, I am sure they can give you more information.
Mika From Sweden, joined Jul 2000, 2791 posts, RR: 4 Reply 4, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 3028 times:
How does one get access to the GDS systems? I assume an IATA BSP contract would be the same as getting IATA accredited? I looked on their webiste but found nothing about it, i'll contact them about it.
Thomas_Jaeger From Switzerland, joined Apr 2002, 2334 posts, RR: 29 Reply 5, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 2990 times:
@Mika: I guess you will need a participation agreement, I only know the airline side of things very well with regards to GDS participation.
Just as a sidenote : Calling Amadeus at this time of the day might not be a good idea as I have just found out yesterday . Wanted to call their 24h helpdesk in Nice and forgot the direct number, looked up the main number for their Nice headquarters and called to see whether someone would be there to put me through. Now guess who picks up the phone at one of the main numbers of a huge business like Amadeus? . Well, there was someone, but it was their security guard at the front door and he did not speak anything else but French. Luckily I found the direct number to their helpdesk again and got what I wanted .
Swiss aviation news junkie living all over the place
Leskova From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 6075 posts, RR: 71 Reply 6, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 2941 times:
Mika, one of the first things I'd do is to call IATA (go to http://www.iata.org to find the contact details relevant for you) - at least here in Germany, it's not possible to just open up and start issuing tickets right away - the IATA accreditation was, at least when I went through the process, rather complicated.
If you're facing a similar situation as an agency would here in Germany, then I'd consider working through a consolidator for a while, where you book the flights in your own GDS (whichever one you decide on using) and then send the PNRs by queue to the IATA accredited consolidator, who then issues the tickets and sends them to you by mail (or issues an eTicket and just sends you the invoice ).
Some of the preconditions for IATA accreditation here in Germany are...
having someone who's got a IATA/UFTAA Standard Diploma, not older than 2 years at most (the diploma, of course - not the person... )
to get that, you need to have worked in a travel agency for some time and then take a written test through IATA
with the application, you will need to prove the financial stability of your company - usually a bit difficult to do, if it's a new company: this is why new companies are usually either placed under a higher financial scrutiny, or simply not admitted to IATA
Obviously, you'll need a GDS: since I work with the "big four" (Amadeus, Sabre, Galileo and Worldspan) on a daily basis, I'll say that - for someone who's never worked with a GDS before, Amadeus is the most intuitive and easiest to lean, while the others are, at least here in Germany, cheaper to use - of course, if you've been working with them for a while, the others are just as easy to use as Amadeus
You'll need a ticket printer - and those things can get quite expensive
You'll also need a safe, for safekeeping of the travel documents
Next thing is, you'll need to put up either a large sum as security for IATA, or you'll need an insurance instead
Those are the points that I remember right off the top of my head - there are more... it took me quite a while to get everything up and running the way I wanted when I got my own agency... may it rest in peace... accredited with IATA.
As for working directly with airlines - some airlines will still offer you the choice of not working through IATA, but by being directly accredited with the airline - but I don't know of any airline in one of the alliances doing this. If at all, smaller carriers will offer this option, and only if you will be selling enough in volume of their flights.
Most airlines will not give you a direct contract with fares better than the published ones - at least not, until you've succeeded in selling a good amount of their tickets at published rates, which is usually difficult to do, but if you work at it, it's doable.
Ok... I have to catch something for dinner now and later pick up someone from the train station, so I'll have to stop here - if you think I can be of any further help, having gone through the whole excercise in 1998/1999, feel free to contact me...
AMS From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 1689 posts, RR: 12 Reply 7, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 2922 times:
You need to get access to one of the major GDS systems (e.g. Amadeus, Galileo, Worldspan, Sabre) and need a IATA BSP contract.
No actually you do not have to be IATA to become a travel agency. All you need is approval from your local Business office, and once you have a license you get call airlines and try to make appointments with sales managers, for possible IT contacts/Agreements. Also Wordspan is very nice to Non Iata agents, and you can obtain access to the Worldspan CRS. Actually I am myself a non Iata travel agent, and I am doing very well, but you need to establish the right contacts!