The JetBlue/Travelport distribution contract is no more, which means your travelers (if you use the Apollo GDS System) are no longer able to easily purchase JetBlue fares.

JetBlue could not agree to a contract that was competitive for Travelport and its customers and so their contract expired at midnight on November 30, 2015.

For Apollo-based travel programs, this means JetBlue fares are going to be a little more difficult to book. Different online booking tools, like Concur and Deem, are providing various solutions to allow online users to access fare options, while agent bookings can still be made using direct connect technologies. Still, the “JetBlue-Travelport Divorce” as some are calling it, has negatively impacted the efficiency of making JetBlue bookings through your managed travel program.

"Travelport will remain engaged..."

JetBlue remains tacit about the situation, telling Travel Market Report, “Our relationship with Travelport is ending after multiple deadline extensions and efforts by JetBlue to reach an agreement.” Meanwhile, Travelport takes a more positive approach, saying, “[We remain] optimistic that JetBlue’s absence from Travelport will be temporary. Travelport will remain engaged with JetBlue and continue to attempt to reach a long-term agreement beneficial to all parties, including Travelport’s agency customers.”

This development comes at an inopportune time. Airlines like Delta and JetBlue were just beginning to work with GDSs to provide comprehensive content merchandising for unbundled fares, in addition to the run-of-the-mill, ticket-only purchase options. With the overarching goal of creating less friction for the travel booking, JetBlue’s refusal to find compromise with Travelport is a rude awakening that airlines are far from providing comprehensive data and ancillary tracking capabilities through the global distribution systems.

Chesley Turner

Written by Chesley Turner