Delta Preparing to Unveil NDC Strategy

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Delta Air Lines is the last of the big three U.S. carriers to implement a New Distribution Capability strategy, but the wait soon may be over. 

The company is preparing to unveil its NDC strategy—or at least some of it—at a corporate showcase event scheduled for next week, Delta managing director of sales technology and global sales support Sara Reid said this week at the joint Elevate and TravelConnect conference in Washington, D.C., held by ATPCO and Airlines Reporting Corp.

She didn’t let any NDC secrets out of the bag, but instead noted the strategy would be an “iterative process” with some of the plan’s “first milestones” to come out toward the end of 2024. 

“We are committed to the ecosystem, committed to creating value for our partners, and we want to make sure that our journey is to be customer-oriented,” Reid said. “It’s important to know we remain committed to business travel on this journey and remain committed to the third-party partners.”

Reid added that Delta “right now has no plans to follow other airlines’ strategies to remove content [from EDIFACT] or impose surcharges at this point.” She also reiterated the need to focus on servicing, not just selling Delta products. “If we can only sell our products and not service them, then we’re missing something. The key to our journey is better servicing.”

Over the past six months, Delta has pulled together an interdepartmental team to meet with travel agencies, online booking tools, global distribution systems and corporate travel buyers to assess current processes, Reid said. 

Delta also has heard what isn’t working with NDC and what stakeholders want, she said, such as making sure what is offered in NDC is the same as what is found on an airline’s dot-com site, with even better deals if there’s a corporate discount.

AmTrav CEO Jeff Klee, who was on stage with Reid, is among the participants in Delta’s research. 

“I really appreciate the thoughtful approach that Delta is taking to this,” Klee said. “To be fair, they’re coming at this a little late, but really trying to get the benefit of that hindsight. They sent a team to our offices, and to many of their other partners, and they are diving into and dissecting every little detail about our operations, so that when they release this product or build this product, they are not leaving any stone unturned.”

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