British Airways opens seat availability data as part of developer trial

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British Airways is to expand its New Distribution Capability data trial by giving IT developers access to the airline’s seating availability so they can chose seats when making bookings.

The move follows the announcement earlier this month that British Airways opened up its flight information as part of a bid to find innovative new ways for people to search for and buy the airline’s flights.

The newly released API (or Application Programming Interface), known as Seat Availability, will allow developers to search for and select seats when making a British Airways flight booking, in the same way that customers can do on ba.com.

Ian Luck, distribution strategy manager at British Airways, said: “Seat Availability will enable developers to view the availability and price of a customers’ preferred seat, as well as providing information on the layout of the cabin, such as where the toilets, aisles and galleys are, so customers can make informed decisions about their choice of seats.

This latest API is being released because we are very pleased with how the trial is progressing and this is an important next step.”

The trial started on July 7 with the release of three ‘Shop and Order’ API’s:
1. Air Shopping – which allowed users to search for availability and pricing
2. Flight Price – which validated price quotes and provided payment options
3. Order Create – which completed the booking, accepted payments and issued the ticket

The new Seat Availability API, adds greater functionality to the trial with the next possible API being the ability to arrange for additional baggage. This content will be made available from British Airways directly, via its NDC service providers and through the existing Global Distribution Systems (GDSs), subject to development.

Developers can register at developer.ba.com to take part in the trial, subject to approval.

The British Airways trial is the airline’s first step in what is a wider industry initiative which looks to develop an XML-based data messaging standard, known as New Distribution Capability (NDC), using the latest technology to deliver enhanced information to travel agents.

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