The three ways to book LCC

There are three basic variants for connecting the more than 90 low-cost and hybrid carriers in Amadeus. Here we'll have a closer look at the characteristics of the three connection types.

1. Amadeus E-Ticketing

A number of low-cost and hybrid carriers have opted to be connected as e-ticketing carriers. They are integrated much like classic full-service carriers and can be booked in the same way. For the airlines, e-ticketing is a complete integration and is the best way for them to utilize the full potential of GDS sales. It helps them reach the customer segment with the highest returns and opens up possibilities for cooperation with other airlines through interline agreements. The requirements for the airline include having an IATA billing and selling plan (BSP) and the existence of an e-ticket server. Airlines in this group currently include Norwegian Air Shuttle (DY), the Spanish carrier Vueling (VU) and WestJet (WS) of Canada.

Another possibility is what is known as “partner ticketing.” This is a formula being used, for instance, by eurowings (eW) in collaboration with Lufthansa. In this case, the airline enters into a partnership and signs an interline agreement with another e-ticketing carrier, which acts as a sales agent and validating carrier. This saves the low-cost carrier the cost of the IATA BSP and ticket handling expenses.

2. Amadeus Light Ticketing

In the light-ticketing process tickets are booked just as they are with an e-ticketing carrier, except that the ticket must be issued immediately. Also, the data is not sent to the BSP, and the customer’s credit card is instead billed directly by the airline. As a result, the airline does not need an IATA BSP and does not have to load fares on ATPCo. An XML interface is used to query fares and availability directly in the airline system in real time.

For travel agencies, advantages of this solution include automatic integration into their middle- and back-office systems and the ability to make changes to flights and services directly in Amadeus. Amadeus Light Ticketing is currently supported by airlines such as: easyJet (U2), Transavia (hV, To),Spring Airlines (9C), Jet2.com (LS) and AirAsia (AK, D7, FD, I5, QZ, XJ, Z2).

3. Ticketless via SSR e-Pay

With this connection type – which is not widely used on the Scandinavian market – no ticket is issued after booking; instead, the customer’s credit card is billed by the airline at the end of the booking process. For this, the credit card needs to be entered as an SSR element in e-Pay format. Carriers using this variant include Spirit Airlines (nK) in the United States, Australian carrier Jetstar (JQ) and TUIfly (X3).

Some airlines with no Amadeus connection can still be booked in Amadeus. For example, you can find flights from Hungarian airline Wizz Air (W6) as a non-GDS offering in Amadeus All Fares or in Amadeus Fare Wizard.