Today I will show you what FltGraph do with an booking example. This kind of reservation cannot be made with any other website, but only travel agents can by using GDS (Global Distribution system). However, making this reservation through travel agents is not practical. If you see the process, you can easily understand why.
Below is our supposition.
1.Traveler: A university student living in Seoul wants to travel Europe (especially Spain and Portugal).
2.Touring Schedule: After final examination (~12th December), about 30~40 days.
3.Preference: Cheap, reasonable flight schedule, no preference of airline, prefer stopover if possible
Look at the map above. I think traveling Lisbon-Madrid-Barcelona (Lisbon In-Barcelona out) or reverse of it (Barcelona in-Lisbon out) would be nice. Let’s think about detail schedules after booking a flight.
Let’s check the base fare of the flight to Barcelona (BCN) and Lisbon (LIS) first.
On the picture above, first red line is a fare checking command. I set the departure date as 12th December (L12DEC). European airlines are likely to via the same airport when they come and go. It means that we don’t have any chance to stopover many different cities. In this case, we want to stopover different cities, so China Eastern Airlines (MU) or CA(Air China) would be better.
There’s no cheap fare on MU for Lisbon, and CA does not show up on the list. Let’s check the other cities instead Lisbon. (If there isn’t any better condition, we should give up Lisbon or choose European airlines.)
I checked the flight fare to Porto (OPO) and Faro(FAO). There’s no CA fare as well. I think CA has fares only for the cities which they operate. MU has similar fare to Barcelona. I don’t understand the reason why the fare to Lisbon is much more expensive.
If I choose MU, Porto or Faro In, and BCN Out will be possible. Total fare, which can be changed by bunker surcharge and tax, will be around KRW 1,000,000. I searched for travel information of Porto and Faro. Porto is a city which many Koreans visit, whereas Faro is a small city which many Europeans go in the summer season. I think about it for a while. Traveling a small city in off season would not be bad. Also, Faro is close to Lisbon, so we can stop by Lisbon. Or, according to circumstances, we abandon Lisbon and go Madrid through Sevilla. (Of course if we cannot find available seat for FAO, we should check the availability to OPO again)
And then, let’s check the rules for MU fare. It’s valid from 1st July 2014. Also, it has 6 month maximum stay which means that we should finish the trip in 6 months.
Let’s check the other rules.
Start to check routing rules first. We should transfer in Shanghai once, and then transfer again to FAO via London (LON), Frankfurt (FRA), Paris (PAR) or Roma (ROM). We should take MU to FRA, LON, PAR, or ROM. To FAO, we can have many choices in airlines, so I think it’s not that hard to find the flight.
Next, stopover rules. We can stopover 3 times in each direction, total 6 times. Free for once in each direction, and KRW 100,000 for addition. I want to stopover at PAR on the departure and ROM on the return. If I cannot find the flight from Shanghai on the same day I depart, I can pay KRW100,000 for stopover to get another day flight.
I searched more, and I’m afraid that only LON has direct flight to FAO. So I decided to change to stopover at LON on the departure to FAO and ROM on the return from BCN. Since BCN is a big city, there will be many flights between those two cities.
Combination rules. Combinations are only allowed to MU carrier. Single or Double open jaws are permitted, so FAO in BCN out will be possible. If we want to return to a city apart from Seoul, it also can be possible.
End-on-End (adding another round trip from stopover city) and Side trip (adding another round trip from destination) is allowed for this fare. I will explain this next time.
Flight application rules. First red box above presents flights which can be taken in Europe. We can choose British airlines (BA) for LON-FAO, and Alitalia(AZ) for BCN-ROM from them. Second one is flights which can be taken from Shanghai to Area 3. Seoul is also in Area 3. In this area, only MU is allowed. The Last one is flights which can be taken from Area 3 to Area 2(Europe). (If you go to PAR, you can choose China Eastern Air operated by Air France from Shanghai to Paris with restricted flight number)
Let’s find out which booking class does we have to book.
Only T class is allowed for MU. We can ignore other rules because we don’t have any plans to move in China.
BA doesn’t allow flight number 0510-0526, and B class is required. If there aren’t, N or V class is permitted.
AZ requires L class for the flight number 0001-2399, and if there aren’t, W, T, Q class are permitted.
Now we are almost ready. There are many other rules, but we don’t have to check it all now. It ’s better to take the seat first, and then check the minor rules if an error shows up for pricing.
Let’s summarize. Stop over LON and ROM for a week each, and travel FAO to BCN for 3 weeks.
- 12/12 SEL-SHA-LON
- 12/19 LON-FAO
- 1/9 BCN-ROM
- 1/16 ROM-SHA-SEL
I will book a seat from SEL to LON.
There are many seats than I thought. Connecting time is around 2 hours 40 minutes, so quite enough. (from 9:50 to 12:30)
There are no seats available for LON-FAO on 19th and 20th, and no operation on 18th. 17th has seats, so I agonized for a while because I had planned to stay in London for a week. However, 5 days would be okay, so I finally decided to shorten the schedule in London a bit.
There are seats on 9th January from BCN to ROM. Choose the most reasonable flight time.
There are seats available in ROM-SHA-SEL route on 16th January as well, so we don’t need to think about stopover in Shanghai.
Now it’s almost done. Check the price whether it’s the price we expected or not.
All right! Pricing went well. Maybe there weren’t any rules causing problem.
What do you think? Isn’t it amazing? Also, isn’t it seems so complicated even for travel agents?
Actually, this kind of reservation isn’t easy for travel agents as well. It’s too hard to serve this to every clients if the clients are not their friends or family.
It’s hard for two reasons. First, it’s too inefficient to check every rules in text oriented GDS for the reservations. Second, travel agents cannot choose appropriate alternatives for clients in every single time because it’s not their travel.
Then, let’s try similar reservation in existing air booking sites.
I tried to find the SEL-PAR-LIS BCN-ROM-SEL schedule as I originally planned. In this case, I cannot have any idea of alternatives. Priceline has the fare minimum from $3,034.40 for SEL-PAR-LIS / BCN-ROM-SEL. It’s much too expensive.
Online air booking sites such as Priceline have an algorithm finding flights according to initial condition that customer provided. It’s impossible to search every flights, fares and rules, so they drop some of factors. With this algorithm, the longer distance, the more transfers, and the multi destinations will deduct worse results.
As you see the every step that travel agents do, booking multi-destination flights for cheaper fare needs much effort. To do that, we should analyze the fares and rules of airlines carefully, and make a reservation modifying travel plan consistently by schedule and our own personal taste.
FltGraph can make this kind of booking. Travel agents have to have a lot of knowledge and experience, and they should fight with poor interfaces. FltGraph uses graphic and summarizing system step by step. It can filter useful information out by itself. Also, Fltgraph can judge information which customer doesn’t need to know. It helps general customer book a flight easily. Frankly speaking, it can be a bit difficult to use it as a general customer. But still, FltGraph is much easier than GDS.