Videos: Airline Global Distribution Systems explained, with a bit of humor

Eventually I’ll get around to posting a detailed description and history of Global Distribution Systems (GDSs), but in the meantime check out these videos from Everbread. The UK-based travel technology company put these together in part to explain the method by which airline reservations have been booked since the 1950s, but also to expose the shortcomings of legacy GDSs and humorously plug their next generation airfare search engine. I’m excited to give their Haystack system a test-drive and signed up for an account. Sadly, while the confirmation seemed immediate when I registered online, the email I received stated:

a close-up of a message

[Update: Had I checked my email again prior to posting this, I would have seen that I’ve been fully activated. Stay tuned for a future post where I’ll take Haystack for a test drive.]

The videos are accurate in that they give a high-level snapshot of GDSs from their creation to present day form and function, but quite a bit of detail is left out. Still, though, I have to give Everbread props for summarizing the highly complex nature of GDS functionality into an easily understandable framework. Their Haystack system to me sounds like an enhanced ITA Software-type of search tool that additionally captures “off-line†low-cost carrier data (i.e., Southwest Airlines, for example, whose limited subscription in GDSs leaves them off ITA’s Matrix search).

Be sure to note the rather hilarious caricature of Sir Richard Branson in the second video. American Airlines certainly agrees with their statement, “Airlines pay truckloads of money for the global distribution network.†Enjoy!

(Hat tip: Gulliver via Tnooz)



  1. Hi Darren,

    I read that Haystack is for B2B customers. I still dont understand how will it be useful for retail customers like us ?

    Btw informative & funny adverts!

    • Hi Vinay, Be sure to check back as I plan to make a new posting after I take the system for a test drive. I believe it will act like ITA Software with consumer abilities.

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