Shaping the future of intelligent retailing with NDC-enabled APIs
Championed by the airline trade association, International Airline Transport Association (IATA), the New Distribution Capability (NDC) is an XML-based data transmission standard that enables airlines to evolve how they retail inventory, including the display of rich content and personalized offer bundles. Sabre’s NDC-enabled, REST/JSON-based APIs support the shopping, booking and fulfillment of NDC content via a new Offer and Order model. Current highlights include:
- An enhanced version of the Bargain Finder Max (BFM) Air Shopping API that integrates NDC, ATPCO and low cost carrier (LCC) offers
- New APIs for Offer and Order creation, pricing and modification
- Access to NDC offers from United Airlines in the U.S. point of sale for single passenger itineraries
Throughout 2019 and beyond, Sabre will deploy additional API capabilities and expand the roster of airlines supplying NDC offers through Sabre’s global distribution system (GDS) channel. To learn more, please visit Sabre’s Beyond NDC microsite, or IATA’s NDC website.
The most common “happy path” workflows currently are:
- SHOP > PRICE > BOOK > PAY
- SHOP > PRICE > BOOK > CANCEL
Taking a closer look, this entails:
- Shop for airline Offers
- Price the Offer
- Create an Order
- Cancel an Order or Change an Order (fulfill)
More details can be found in this section.
Offer - content supplied by an airline in response to a shopping request. An Offer contains:
- Offer ID: a unique, Sabre-generated identifier for an Offer
- Offer time to live: time until Offer expiration
- Offer source: identifies the Offer source, i.e., NDC, ATPCO, LCC
- Offer Item: an entity that contains the following elements:
- Offer Item ID: unique Offer Item identifier
- Flight details, (i.e., schedule)
- Attributes (e.g., brand name, baggage allowance)
- Fare details (e.g., base fare, total taxes, total price)
Offer Store - Sabre repository for Offers, Offer Ids, prices and all relevant information pertaining an Offer. The Offer Store content is only accessible via Offer APIs.
Order - entity that holds all reservation details, containing:
- Order ID: unique Sabre-generated Order identifier
- PNR locator: reference to the child passenger name record (PNR) that is generated at the time of Order creation
- Ticketing time limit: the date and time by which the Order must be fulfilled to avoid cancellation by the air supplier
- External Order ID: supplier-side (e.g., airline) reference to the Order ID, which is similar to the traditional airline record locator concept
Order Management System (OMS) - Sabre repository for Orders and Order Ids. The OMS content is only accessible via the Order APIs.
Sabre will release new NDC capabilities throughout 2019 and beyond. Current capability attributes include:
|Carriers||United Airlines (UA)|
|Point of sale||United States (US)|
|Itineraries||Single adult passenger, "ADT" passenger type code (PTC) only|
|Customer type||API users only|
|Form of payment (FOP)||Single credit card|
|API access||Limited release to select agency customers|
|API activation||Access to these APIs is restricted. Contact your Sabre Account Representative if you are interested in accessing the APIs|
|IATA NDC message version||17.2|
|API normalization||Partial (Bargain Finder Max API and Offer Price integrate NDC, LCC and ATPCO content into a single response; other APIs will be normalized over time)|
|Authentication||Session-less Access Tokens (ATK)|
|Bargain Finder Max||Shop for Air Offers||/offers/shop||REST/JSON|
|Offer Price||Price an Air Offer||/offers/price||REST/JSON|
|Order Create||Create an Order||/orders/create||REST/JSON|
|Order Cancel||Cancel an Order (pre-fulfillment)||/orders/cancel||REST/JSON|
|Order Change||Fulfill an Order||/orders/change||REST/JSON|
|Order View||Display an Order||/orders/view||REST/JSON|
- Can I combine NDC content with non-NDC content in the same record?
- Will NDC content be added into records as HK segments or are they passive segments?
- If NDC content is booked but needs to be serviced by a travel agent who has not converted to Sabre Red 360, can a travel agent on classic Sabre Red Workspace service the booking?
- Are there any special requirements to process refunds, voids, or exchanges?
- Can the classic Sabre Red Workspace set up NDC segments/fares for refund, void, exchange, etc?
- Are there pre-requisite or conditions on the PNR for Sabre to send the Interface User Record (IUR) message?
- Do I always need to pass form of payment (credit card / cash) before order creation? Or can it be done at payment time?
- How do accounting lines work in this NDC implementation?
- Can I create a Manual Price Quote on an NDC reservation?
- Can I issue a ticket on an NDC reservation?
- Can I void a fulfilled NDC reservation?
- Will the Sabre Sales Report (DQB) reflect NDC reservations?
- How can I display a newly issued NDC ticket?
- Can I Exchange or Refund an NDC ticket?
Yes. However, Sabre has launched NDC by taking an API-first, stateless approach. Therefore, it is required to book any NDC segments as the first content within the PNR to ensure the combination of NDC and non-NDC content can be combined within a single PNR.
The status code of an NDC air segment will be reflected as HK (confirmed) in both the Order and the PNR. However, in the PNR these segments are not active air segments (are considered representational) and subsequent formats to change this segment will not apply. Specific NDC workflows must be followed to service an NDC segment.
If NDC content is booked but needs to be serviced by a travel agent who has not converted to Sabre Red 360, can a travel agent on classic Sabre Red Workspace service the booking?
No. Sabre Red 360 will be the only version of the agent workspace to service an NDC booking beyond proprietary solutions developed to consume Sabre’s NDC-based APIs. Currently, the servicing capability for an NDC segment is the ability to cancel prior to fulfillment. Cancelling an NDC segment is only available via the new Sabre Order Management APIs. Sabre Red 360 will include this feature within its NDC launch capabilities later in 2019.
Upon initial launch, the airline supplying the booked NDC content will perform servicing directly. Sabre’s capability roadmap includes delivery of additional servicing capabilities via APIs. Sabre Red 360 will begin to consume the NDC APIs later in 2019.
The ability to change existing orders is on Sabre’s NDC roadmap. These functions will be made available with an API-first approach. Sabre Red 360 will begin to consume the NDC APIs later in 2019. Sabre Red Workspace 2.0 will not be able to service NDC bookings, which can only occur via Sabre’s new NDC services.
Are there pre-requisite or conditions on the PNR for Sabre to send the Interface User Record (IUR) message?
The Order fulfillment process will trigger sending the IUR, similar to existing ticketing functionality. Currently, manually driving an IUR using the InvoiceItineraryLLSRQ API or DIN format is not possible.
Do I always need to pass form of payment (credit card / cash) before order creation? Or can it be done at payment time?
The initial API release supports single credit card (CC) form of payment (FOP). Looking ahead, Cash FOP is slated for later in 2019. The CC FOP must be included within the Order fulfillment process and is not stored within the NDC Order.
An automated accounting line will be generated and added to the host PNR for applicable customers as it is today. The air accounting line is not technically linked to NDC air segments, so the only permitted action is deleting the accounting line. Adding manual air accounting for NDC air segments (via the AddAccountingLineLLSRQ API or via host), is not restricted at this point but will not invoice at time of end transaction.
NDC air segments in a host PNR are not valid for manual pricing. All fare data must originate directly from the airline. If non-NDC air content is included in the host PNR, then a manual PQ may be added to the PNR. However, the manual PQ will not be updated in the Order. To create a manual pricing record, a segment select qualifier must be included in an Order to build the manual PQ that references only the non-NDC air content. The logic described applies to both the ManualPriceQuoteAddInfoLLSRQ API and the host command.
The /orders/change API will need to be used to fulfill an NDC reservation. Host ticketing commands and existing APIs (AirTicketLLSRQ or AirTicketRQ) are not valid for host PNRs created via the NDC Order. NDC air segments are not traditional air segments and the existing error that is returned when air segments are not present will be returned. Errors will be returned for any variation of ticketing commands, including Future Processing (FP) line processing.
Void of an NDC issued document is not supported via the VoidLLSRQ API or host commands. If an NDC document is attempted to be voided, an error will be returned.
NDC documents will be updated and visible on the Enhanced Sales Report (DQB) which is available via the TKT_TravelAgencyReportsRQ API. The legacy DailySalesReportLLSRQ API will not reflect this data.
Note: The stock-type on the display will show as XX since no stock-type applies.
The /orders/view API will return the latest Order and ticket image for NDC reservations. NDC documents will not be displayed via the host ticket display functions or existing display APIs (eTicketCouponLLSRQ or TKT_ElectronicDocumentServicesRQ). If a host display command includes an NDC document number, an error response will be returned.
Servicing of an NDC issued document is not currently available in Sabre. Exchange of an NDC issued document must be completed by the NDC-issuing airline. If an NDC document number is included in any Sabre ticket exchange API (AutomatedExchangesLLSRQ, ExchangeBookingRQ, ExchangeShoppingRQ, TKT_ExchangeRQ or AutomatedRefundRQ), or host command, an error will be returned.