Are You Ready? Compare NDC Fares Like a Pro.

NDC Fare Compare
Next Distribution Capability (NDC) is a topic we’ve blogged about before and there’s one question that is frequently asked by our customers.

But first, we understand that an industry-wide switch to a new faring system raises many questions, and perhaps even some concerns, for travel managers.  Questions such as:

  • What happens to my banked pre-NDC tickets?
  • My policy does not allow seat upgrades, but NDC offers frequently bundled seats with other ancillaries and benefits. What should I do with my policy?
  • What do NDC fares “look like” to the traveler? What do they see?
  • How will schedule changes work? Is NDC different?
  • Are there savings with NDC or will NDC bundles increase my spend?


These questions usually arise because of unfamiliarity with the product and always seem to come down to one basic ask – How does NDC compare directly with non-NDC?



We were determined to tackle this question head on and now offer a direct comparison of NDC and non-NDC fares on our flagship website,  You and your travelers can log in to TripEasy and view NDC fares for several airlines, including United Airlines and American Airlines, and directly compare NDC and non-NDC fares. Booking capabilities will be available in TripEasy in a few short weeks.

NDC Fare Compare Screenshot

This step in the NDC progression may not be necessary for your company, as you may not need a direct comparison. For some companies, NDC is just another fare option that the industry has introduced. And to the traveler, it should not make a difference. For others, however, checking to see if the NDC option offers savings or benefits for the same cost is critical intelligence. Seeing NDC and non-NDC fares displayed “side-by-side” can demystify a topic that has captured a lot of attention but find few in our industry who fully understand it.


Schedule changes:
Specific airlines have decided to process schedule changes and flight reaccommodation using their own internal consumer tools and products. ITS has been working with distribution departments and NDC selling sources to adjust this approach or to at least amend it and to be aware of pending timelines and updates. If that approach is not modified, many business travelers will be required to spend time calling airlines directly for assistance.

As a Travel Management Company, when flight times change by more than 30 minutes, we take a deeper look into your travel plans and offer informed suggestions. If you’re a traveler with a meeting time that is important enough for you to consider changing airlines rather than accepting a flight change, we step in and assist by making the change for you. With NDC, ITS strongly advocates for assisting our clients and your travelers in a way that keeps you in control and avoids the standard two-to-four hour wait times that currently exist with many “airline-direct” call centers.


Unused tickets:
For banked or unused tickets, Accelya has now created a service to exchange non-NDC electronic tickets for new NDC ticket orders. While this is a one directional swap (non-NDC converted to NDC), this is a positive step in the right direction. Not all NDC selling sources have enabled this functionality, but simply having this option provides a path for our clients to retain some value for their unused tickets.


Arranger capabilities:
As a corporate travel agency, we identify many “consumer” decisions made in the formation of the NDC standard that were proposed primarily by airlines without considering the needs of corporations. One simple example is the Arranger role. In our experience, small companies to large Enterprise corporations still utilize arrangers today to assist travelers in booking or managing trips.

Self-service is here to stay, but many sales departments or heavy C-suite travelers don’t take the time to self-book.  Or they look to their travel managers to jump in and help with their travel management tasks.

TripEasy has a simple path for arrangers to book for multiple travelers with one travel shopping request. With NDC, if an arranger wants to book the same trip for three travelers as an example, NDC “bundles” not only the fare offer, but it also combines the travelers into a single PNR. Most organizations are not yet prepared for this result in their expense reporting and change management processes.  Most business travelers want to receive and manage their own itinerary separately from other travelers as individual plans frequently change. ITS is working closely with industry standards and distribution teams to raise awareness and to propose solutions to this issue.


Change requests:
Most NDC fares are non-refundable. However, there is a significant difference when NDC fares are modified to accommodate a traveler’s changing needs. Non-NDC fare changes could re-issue the remaining residual value after an exchange to an Electronic Miscellaneous Document (EMD) for future use, even on a non-refundable fare.

To date, most airlines issue NDC fares that either forfeit the “residual” remaining value or they may choose to reissue the remaining value to the original form of payment that was used to purchase the ticket order. In the world of consumer travel, receiving credits applied back to your credit card is easy and a fantastic experience. In the business travel world, this can cause problems.

For our business travel example, if I booked a $750 flight and purchased this flight on my credit card, the airline charges me immediately. As a result, I would submit this charge for reimbursement. My company would reimburse me the full $750. Then, when my plans change, I search and update my ticket order to a new flight that costs $400. If the $350 residual value is placed back on my card, I must remember this and somehow give this back to my company. If I’m busy or forget, I’ve accidentally stolen $350 from my employer. ITS has a solution for this concern.

If you want to “compare” NDC with non-NDC options for the same flight, side-by-side, we are here to help. ITS has a solution for you and will work to demystify NDC. We’ll prepare your organization to determine the appropriate NDC policy before NDC is available for your travelers to book. When in doubt, talk to your Sales Rep or have a detailed conversation with your Account Manager. They are ready, prepared, and standing by to help you today.

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