Skip to content

Supporting Service Automation as Airlines are Forced to Cancel Flights

Our Airline Commerce Gateway was designed for retailing, enabling airlines to grow their revenue, reduce costs, and make customers happy. At the heart of its technical design are two main principles: ‘flexible’ and ‘future-proof.’ It’s fair to say that our current reality isn’t the future we were planning. But these technical design principles have stood our airline customers in good stead over recent weeks, which is something that makes us very proud.

Just over two months ago, I was helping our data science team with an internal demo of our science-powered dynamic seat pricing capabilities. The purpose of the demo was to predict seat pricing on a flight in real-time to highlight our algorithm’s efficacy and revenue improvement. The difficulty was finding flights that were flying as planned. One by one, we watched schedules change or drop from existence in front of our eyes. It was horrifying. What must have been happening on the ground must have been even more upsetting, as customers rushed to call centers to cancel or change bookings for disrupted flights. Servicing airline customers has been an industry pain point for a while, but never to the extent that it is today.

Many of our airline customers have been using the flexible rules capabilities of our offer engines, such as FLX Merchandise (FLX M), to immediately relieve some of the negative impacts of the disruption. For example:

  • Some airlines have rerouted cancellations from their websites to FLX M to determine eligibility for free cancellations. If the criteria are satisfied, a flag is sent back to the airliner where change fees are automatically waived. (See an example of FLX M rule construction below)

  • Other customers have employed waiver codes to override fare rules and enable refunds. In this instance, we automatically enter a waiver code in the travel agency selling and servicing platform, SPRK. The code is later appended to the endorsement line of the new ticket. This notifies the airline that the PNR is not subject to any penalty or reissue fees.
  • We have also been supporting our airline customers in ATPCO’s “Emergency Flexibility for Voluntary Changes and Refunds” enhancement. After the enhancement goes live on June 7th, our shopping engine (FLX Shop & Price) will take data from ATPCO and incorporate it into the pricing logic to override existing fare rules and waive change fees, without manual processing. Penalty overrides will show up in both SPRK and the airline’s NDC API. In SPRK NDC, the ability to ‘cancel flights and retain tickets’ and ‘reuse retained tickets’ will also feature in a near-term release.
  • We are also helping our customers create new types of reports using our data and analytics solution called NDC-Dash. To assist with flight management, the tool can onboard data from different sources such as OAG to track which flights are flying as planned, or to follow the spread of the virus. NDC-Dash provides insights to quickly spot patterns, trends, and anomalies to help the airline make faster and more informed decisions.

My colleagues and I will be sharing some more information and ideas on this blog in the coming days and weeks. We hope you find them of value.

If you are interested in learning more, click the button below.

Latest insights

You might also be interested in


The event season is a great time of year when we get the opportunity to lift our heads from the busy day-to-day and look at what is on the horizon, at the trends shaping the airline industry.

Accelya’s Tye Radcliffe, SVP of Product Strategy for the Order group, gives his perspective on the market with the industry emerging into the third horizon of value. What does that mean? Read on to find out.



The Airline Voice Radio series “Reaching New Heights” goes down under and sees Accelya’s Jim Davidson catch up with Nadine Dawood Morgan, Head of Distribution and Payment at Qantas.

Nadine is an avid fan of communication and education to create NDC advocates ready to spread the word and increase adoption.



Welcome to a new series of Air Transformation Lab articles on NDC adoption. With Accelya processing 40% of the world’s NDC transactions, we are in a unique position to see the positive impact of distribution and channel management strategy on airline sales.

In this first installment, Nancy Delgado and Fearghal O’Connell explore why now is the best time for an airline to launch its NDC journey.



Accelya has announced the appointment of current Chief Innovation Officer Tim Reiz in the newly created role of Chief Product and Technology Officer.