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American NDC Fares Analysis (Week 2): Not All Routes Are Created Equal

American NDC Fares Analysis (Week 2): Not All Routes Are Created Equal

It's been two weeks since American Airlines restricted the sale of their lowest fares to NDC "modern retailing"-enabled channels, including AmTrav. Through Sunday, April 16, two weeks in, AmTrav has observed that lower fares are available via NDC on 34% of bookings, with those bookings averaging $128 lower (excluding Basic Economy for this analysis).

 

One thing that we've noticed is that the fare restrictions (when lower fares are available via NDC) varies by the market. For customers booking flights between American hubs (like Dallas-Charlotte or Philadelphia-Chicago), NDC fares are lower 40% of the time. That number drops to 37% of the time lower in hub-spoke markets (so from an American hub like Phoenix to a non-hub like Denver or San Francisco), and even lower in spoke-spoke markets (so a non-hub like Indianapolis to a non-hub like San Diego).

 

So what? In short, American is restricting fares the most in the markets where they're strongest and have the most flights, restricting the lowest fares to NDC less often where customers would have to connect on American.

 

What about specific markets -- do the fares vary by American's "core hubs" Dallas and Charlotte vs. other hubs? Short answer is no, routes to and from Dallas and Charlotte have lower fares via NDC on 35% of bookings while other hubs have lower fares via NDC on 39% of bookings (not a huge difference). Certain hubs, though, do stand out: Miami, Los Angeles and New York have lower fares via NDC on 50% of bookings. This is the opposite of the hub-vs-spoke pattern described earlier, here American is making lower fares available via NDC more often in hubs with more competition.

 

Overall, the story remains the same: one of the largest U.S. carriers (or the largest carrier, depending on how you measure) is restricting at lot of their lowest fares to NDC-enabled corporate channels, and a lot of corporate customers are paying more to book via channels that aren't connected via NDC. And the effects aren't limited by geography, every corporate travel program across the country is affected.

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